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Power and influence in family decision-making: child focussed perspectives from 21st century families

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

In response to the call for family research which (a) acknowledges that alternative forms of families exist, moving away from the predominance of nuclear conventions (Commuri and Gentry, 2000), (b) extends the restrictive nature of the participants recruited in family studies (Ekström, Tansuhaj and Foxman, 1987) and (c) focuses on more than one specific aspect of the family unit at a disaggregate level (Bazerman, 2001) this paper attempts to offer a more holistic view and complete account of how power and influence are exerted in family decision-making. We study the family decision making processes in six different families through a series of in-depth interviews, focussing specifically on how the children in each family try to get their voices heard and how they attempt to exert influence within their families. Themes such as gatekeeping, family microenvironments, intragenerational influence and individual/collaborative influence attempts emerge as ways through which individuals seek to restrict the power of others whilst maintaining or enhancing their own power levels in family decision-making.