Concept of Authority

Usually, power is compared to an authority in the real world. But when you look closely both terms are absolutely different from each other. Power is something that is referred to as the ability to influence the attitude or behavior of any individual. While authority is generally a representation of someone’s position. It is derived from multiple sources like seniority, technical competence, etc. The power of a manager is considered as their ability to ask the subordinates whatever they wish them to do. In simpler terms, when you broaden the concept of authority you get power.

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Power and Authority

The manager’s power can be measured in his ability to-

  • Punish the individuals
  • Withdraw the rewards
  • Provide rewards, etc.

Thus, the main sources of power can be considered as the dominating personality, expertise, rewards, etc. While authority is described as an institutionalized power which is bestowed by the organization formally. We have learned the difference between authority and power. Now we will broaden the concept of authority to understand it further.     

Concept of Authority

Concept of Authority

In management, authority is summarized as a right to guide and direct the activities of others.

Furthermore, to secure them from their responses that are also in tandem with the organizational goals.

Thus, it is a right that utilizes the resources of the organization in order to make the decisions. For this, the authority has the right to direct the others so that individuals perform their duties.

This also helps in achieving organizational goals. Also, it refers to the right to make the decisions and to carry out these decisions.

In alternative terms, it can also be said as a right to act. Barnard says that authority is a communication character in a formal organization due to which a contributor accepts it.

Also, the authority can be the power required to take the decisions which can guide the action of others.

Learn more about Importance and Steps in Delegation here in detail.

Characteristics of Authority

There are certain characteristics that the concept of power follows. These are:

Authority is considered as a relationship between the two people – the subordinates and their superior. The people with superiority frames the decision and transmits it. They think that the subordinates will accept these decisions and executes them.

The person who is given a position of authority is legitimate and legal. This position is supported by law, tradition, and standards of authenticity. Thus, authority is also considered as formal.

Authority is necessary for achieving the organizational goals. Thus, the basic use of authority is to influence the attitude and behavior of the subordinates in terms of doing the right things at the correct time.

So, the organizational goals are achieved by the subordinates. The person who has authority influence the behavior of individuals who otherwise might do the thing.

The person who has a position of authority does not enjoy it unlimitedly. There are limits and extents to which the position of authority can be attained. It is predefined. The person with the authority is expected to use it within the rules, policies, and regulations.

Authority also gives the person a right to make a decision. Furthermore, a manager can only decide his orders about what his subordinate should or should not do. Thus, authority is exercised using the decision and looking when they are carried out.

Practice Questions for You

Q. What is the right to extract obedience and act from the others.

A. Power

B. Responsibility

C. Authority

D. None

Answer: C. Authority 

Because Authority is considered as a relationship between the two people – the subordinates and their superior. Thus, the basic use of authority is to influence the attitude and behavior of the subordinates in terms of doing the right things at the correct time.

Q. Authority should not commensurate with the responsibilities.

A. True

B. False

Answer: B. False

Reason- Authority Should commensurate with the responsibilities otherwise it is just the use of power without having a goal to achieve the objectives.

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