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Control or rule over another person is the ability to use force to dominate and regulate that person's behavior. Control is often confused with influence. For example, people speak of a private sector manager "controlling" his employees' behavior.

Actually, the manager is merely exercising influence. Each order he gives is a fresh proposal for voluntary cooperation which may be accepted or rejected by the employee. Since insubordination is normally a firing offense, to openly refuse an order is tantamount to terminating the employment relationship. A rational employee will weigh the costs and benefits of continuing to work for that employer, adjusting his calculation as he receives new information about the situation (e.g. in the form of new orders from his boss). When he perceives that the costs exceed the benefits, he will resign from his job. The situation is similar in other consensual relationships; a romantic partner, for instance, who makes many demands is sometimes referred to as "controlling." But his partner is free to end the relationship if she deems the benefits of the relationship not worth acceding to his demands or putting up with whatever behavior he engages in if she does not meet his demands.

The situation is quite different in, say, a military environment in which the soldiers have no right to resign at will. To refuse to deploy, for example, is an offense punishable by jail time. First Lieutenant and Ehren Watada and Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin are notable examples of soldiers court-martialed for that offense; the latter received six months in jail.[1]