Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dominant Coalitions

"There is only one reality in the world today. Look to the west, Judah. Don't be a fool. Look to Rome!"
--Messala (Ben-Hur)

In social settings, there is tendency for dominant coalitions to emerge. A dominant coalition is a group of people that exerts outsized influence on others. Dominant coalitions may be large in number, such as a democratic majority, or small in number, such as a senior management team in an organization.

The primary driving force behind the formation of dominant coalitions is that there is strength in numbers. Things often get done more thoroughly and quicker thru groups rather than thru individuals.

Dominant coalitions also have a social identity element to them. People often affiliate with groups in order to enhance their self-esteem. Particularly as its influence grows, a dominant coalition attracts individuals who want to increase self-esteem thru association.

Dominant coalitions might operate peacefully, exerting their influence thru non-violent persuasion. However, they can also operate forcefully, exerting their influence thru aggression.

The larger the dominant coalition and the longer it exists, the more it becomes institutionalized. Institutional entities, by definition, seek to remain powerful and maintain the status quo. Working against the status quo, however, are naturally changing environments with opposing forces that challenge influential coalitions and work to render them less dominant.

As such, it is likely that dominant coalitions will resort to violence over time in attempts to maintain their dominant position when peaceful influence no longer works.

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