What is the difference between power and authority? Power is the ability of a group or person to achieve their aims despite the resistance of others. However, many people do not view the exercise of such power as legitimate. Authority is the form of power that people recognize as legitimate.
Authority means right, privilege given to someone by another. It refers not to power but to position! A policeman cannot say that he has power (dunamis) to stop traffic. Yet we have been given authority (exousia) over him in Jesus name and by virtue of the testimony that we belong to Jesus.
Authority is a formal title or position that gives someone the tools to influence other people within their organization. A person in authority is often powerful, but power is not necessary for authority. Authority is important for many hierarchical systems and organizations to operate smoothly and quickly.
Yes, it is possible for someone to have formal authority but no power. This may occur if they are unable to exercise autonomy to make decisions or lead a specific group of people. Examples include “leaders” in puppet governments or leaders of true democracies.
According to Max Weber, the three types of legitimate authority are traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic.
Authority is derived through the position. A person can possess a great deal of power and absolutely no authority. Conversely, someone can have authority and absolutely no power. Leaders who have not earned sufficient power sometimes make the mistake of trying to influence others by overexerting their authority.
Examples are bullying, stealing, and peer pressure.
Is Power earned or given?
He explains that there is a true difference between power and authority: “Authority is something bequeathed to someone, or comes with a position such as the CEO or vice president. Power is something that is much more self-originated and comes from within the person.” It is earned power.
People in authority have the power. Thus, we can say that authority is basically power to make decisions, power to command others and rule others, but it does not necessarily mean that a person is a responsible person who is ready to be accountable for the people for whom he has authority over.
Assignment of task or responsibility requires, first, an authority-holding person to assign the task or responsibility and, second, one or more subordinates to perform that task or responsibility. Only a person holding authority—legal, traditional or competence—can assign task or responsibility.
Rollo Tomassi on Twitter: “Responsibility without authority is slavery. Without authority men have no incentive to be responsible.… “
The sociologist and philosopher Max Weber distinguishes three types of authority—charismatic, traditional and legal-rational—each of which corresponds to a brand of leadership that is operative in contemporary society. Third, legal-rational authority is one that is grounded in clearly defined laws.
Government officials are the best example of this form of authority, which is prevalent all over the world. The second type of authority, traditional authority, derives from long-established customs, habits and social structures. When power passes from one generation to another, it is known as traditional authority.
Basically the following types of authority are given below:
- Legal Authority.
- Traditional or Formal or top-down Authority.
- Acceptance or Bottom-up Authority.
- Charismatic Authority.
- Competence or personal Authority.
What are sources of authority?
- personal experience.
- rational thinking.
Examples of traditional authority include kings, sultans, emperors, the male head of a household, and others. Monarchies, oligarchies, theocracies, and some autocracies are good examples of entities that are headed by someone with traditional authority, and if you look hard enough you can find other examples as well.
Legitimacy, dominance, informality, rationality and accountability are the characteristics of authority.
What is power and its characteristics?
Generally, power is the ability to cause or prevent an action, make things happen; the discretion to act or not act. Ability conferred on a person by law to determine and alter (by his or her own will) the rights, duties, liabilities, and other legal relations, of himself or others.
Power is an entity or individual’s ability to control or direct others, while authority is influence that is predicated on perceived legitimacy.