What is Authority
The word authority derives from the Latin word auctoritas meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence or commands which originate from an auctor, indicating that authority originates from a master, leader or author. Essentially authority is imposed by superiors upon inferiors either by force of arms (structural authority) or by force of argument (sapiential authority). Usually authority has components of both compulsion and persuasion. For this reason, as used in Roman law authority is differentiated into potestas (legal or military power) and imperium (persuasive political rank or standing).
Weber on Authority
Max Weber in his sociological work has identified and distinguished three types of authority. Weber defined authority as the chance of commands being obeyed by a specifiable group of people. Legitimate authority is that which is recognized as legitimate and justified by both the ruler and the ruled.
Weber divided legitimate authority into three types:
The first type discussed by Weber is Rational-legal authority. It is that form of authority which depends for its legitimacy on formal rules and established laws of the state, which are usually written down and are often very complex. The power of the rational legal authority is mentioned in the constitution. Modern societies depend on legal-rational authority. Government officials are the best example of this form of authority, which is prevalent all over the world.
The second type of authority is Traditional authority, which derives from long-established customs, habits and social structures. When power passes from one generation to another, then it is known as traditional authority. The right of hereditary monarchs to rule furnishes an obvious example. The Tudor dynasty in England and the ruling families of Mewar, in Rajasthan (India) are some examples of traditional authority.
The third form of authority is Charismatic... [continues]
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