Powere and Authority

Topics: Max Weber, Authority, Rational-legal authority Pages: 3 (861 words) Published: June 9, 2012
Topic: Differentiate between power and authority and how they linked with leadership

To answer this question of the difference between Power and Authority, we must first understand what both Power and Authority actually mean. According to the dictionary (www.dictionary.com) Power comes from the Latin ‘potere’ which means ‘to be able.’ Just from this little description we can tell that to have power would mean that you are able to do things or control people and resources. The dictionary then goes on to say that if you have power you can do anything you want, within reason. Authority on the other hand is the power to enforce laws, expect obedience from those with authority, take command, determine, or judge. Authority is also one that is invested with this power, especially a government or body of government officials. How does power compare to authority and can one be exerted without the other? Power is the ability to get things done by others. The principle of power is to punish and reward. Power can exist with or without authority. For instance an armed robber has power but no authority. Authority can exist with or without power, for example a teacher has authority over the pupils but no real power.Having the physical and mental power to drive a car does not grant authority from the state to do so. Having authority to step to the plate during a Major League baseball game does not guarantee the batter will have the power to hit a home run. You may have the power to go into your neighbor’s home and do as you please but without proper authority, your display of power may make you a criminal.

Both power and authority are closely associated and are sometimes interchangeable, though not always. According to Max Weber, a German sociologist who lived in the nineteenth century, there were three types of authority: Traditional Authority. This type of authority is held by the monarchy, Parents, teachers etc. Traditional authority relies on customs and beliefs...
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