Sanctions are the source of power that provides obedience through the fear of punishment.
CANVAS Core Curriculum (2007, pp. 28), adapted from Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action
Sanctions involve the enforcement of obedience through punishments, either threatened or applied, to ensure the submission and cooperation that are needed for a ruler to carry out his/her policies and to maintain control. The fear that sanctions create in others is often more powerful than the use of the actual sanctions themselves. Therefore, this source of power is expressed not necessarily by the application of the sanctions, but rather by the possibility or threat of sanctions, such as being fired, arrested or physically abused for disobedience.