A power structure
is an overall system of influence[definition needed]
between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in which power
is distributed between people within groups such as a government, nation, institution, organization, or a society.
Such structures are of interest to various fields, including sociology
, and business
. A power structure may be formal and intentionally constructed to maximize values like fairness
, as in a hierarchical organization
wherein every entity, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity. Conversely, a power structure may be an informal set of roles, such as those found in a dominance hierarchy
in which members of a social group interact, often aggressively, to create a ranking system. A culture that is organised in a dominance hierarchy is a dominator culture
, the opposite of an egalitarian culture of partnership. A visible, dominant group or elite that holds power or authority within a power structure is often referred to as being the Establishment
. Power structures are fluid, with changes occurring constantly, either slowly or rapidly, evolving or revolutionary, peacefully or violently.