Power Differences and Dynamics in Multiparty Collaborative Systems: A Systematic Literature Review

Sabina Ramona Trif, Petru Lucian Curșeu, Oana Cătălina Fodor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review on power distribution and power dynamics in multiparty systems. Multiparty systems are underorganized social structures in which power dynamics unfold and impact collaboration effectiveness. We use a theory-driven approach to integrate the empirical literature that explored power differences and dynamics in multiparty systems and we have a two-fold contribution to literature. First, we explore the way power is conceptualized in multiparty systems. Second, we investigate which predictions and propositions of the Social Distance Theory of Power and the Approach Inhibition Model of Power can be used to integrate research on power distribution and dynamics in multiparty systems. We extend the predominantly experimental empirical support of these two theories with insights from the multiparty systems literature. With respect to the way in which power is conceptualized in the multiparty systems literature, our study shows a shift from a possession over resources to a relational perspective on power in the last decades. Moreover, based on the insights of the two psychological theories of power, the study reflects upon the benefits and drawbacks of high versus low power for collaboration effectiveness among stakeholders, pointing towards ways in which facilitators can work with power differences in multiparty systems. Finally, the study points toward directions for future research concerning power dynamics in multiparty systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • collaboration
  • multiparty systems
  • power
  • Multiparty systems
  • Collaboration
  • Power


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