Concept of Authority

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What is Authority?

Authority is characterized as the institutionalized and legal power inherent in a job role, or position that allows the holder of the job to perform his or her responsibilities effectively. It is assigned officially and legally. Authority means a particular authorization obtained from a person's higher officer and based on which a person is entitled to do the work in an organization. It is important for administrative functions. Without authority, no person can carry out his duties with full responsibility. 

This includes the right to monitor a situation, commit funds, issue orders, and demand them to be obeyed. It is followed by accountability for one's acts and failures to execute actions. Additionally, true authority often means that the authority is recognized by the aim.


Concept of Authority

  • The secret to managerial employment is authority. Authority is the cornerstone of the organization to the degree that an organization is defined as a system of relationships between authorities. Authority has a variety of meanings in daily life; it may refer to an individual with superior expertise and skills in a specific field; it may apply to certain officials such as a police commissioner, a university vice-chancellor, or a company's managing director; the word 'registered dealer' also has a different connotation, that of a legally-constituted relationship. However, for management purposes, these definitions of authority are not sufficient. The Authority shall be allowed to make a decision on a matter given or assigned by the superiors. Taking decisions is not sufficient. The decisions are made by those given the responsibility of enforcing the said decision. Authority here becomes a right to order and even to execute the decision.

In short, the Authority can be defined as:

  • A legitimate right to a decision that may be given or assigned,

  • Entitlement to command,

  • The right to see that the decision is implemented properly and honestly,

Characteristics of Authority

  • Basis of Getting Things Done: Authority grants the right to do something in an organization and to control the actions of the other employees of the organization. It immediately contributes to the completion of certain activities for the achievement of the stated goals.

  • Legitimacy: Authority means a legal right open to superiors (within the company itself). This type of right exists because of the practice of authenticity, custom, or norms agreed upon in an institution. Based on an organizational hierarchy, the right of a manager to influence the behaviour of his subordinates is granted to him.

  • Decision Making: A prerequisite of authority is decision-making. The manager may order his subordinates to behave or not to act. The manager makes this form of decision concerning the operation of an office.

  • Implementation: Implementation affects the manager's personality. The subordinates or group of subordinates should obey the manager's orders as to the execution of decisions. One manager's personality factor may vary from another manager.

Features of Authority:

  • It is an individual's legitimate right.

  • It enables staff to be determined by the placeholder.

  • This means the right to seek compliance.

  • It is practiced in a certain manner to control the actions of subordinates.

  • It moves within the organization from top to bottom.

  • It is the ultimate organizing power, and it unites the various individuals who work in the company.

  • It is used to accomplish organizational goals.

  • Differentiating authority from power. Power is referred to as the ability to influence the attitude and behaviour of an individual whereas authority is particular authorization obtained from the higher end.

Elements of Authority

There are 5 elements of authority which are explained below.

  • Usage of Power: In other words, there is a power where there is an authority based on which the authorized person gives orders and instructions to other persons under his/her jurisdiction.

  • Influential Personality: If the power is assigned to a person of influential personality, he can make successful use of these powers, easily because his orders are readily accepted by the subordinates.

  • Performance: An essential aspect of authority is the need for the exercise of authority control. Such success can take place in various ways, such as with the application and issuing orders in writing, etc.

  • Effective Leadership: The individual with authority must be an effective leader so that his subordinates can be guided and his subordinates can obey his instructions in turn.

  • To Influence the Subordinates: The person having authority must have a quality impact on his subordinates for the successful exercise of authority to be able to recognize and comply with his orders.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How is the Delegation of Authority the Source of Development of Managers?

Answer: A manager can not do all the duties assigned to him all alone. The manager should assign power to meet the goals. Delegation of authority involves the distribution to the subordinate of authority and powers downwards. It's about entrusting someone else to do parts of your work. It will be easy for a manager to divide the duties to subordinates and get the work completed early. To achieve effective results, the delegation of authority can be characterized as subdivision and sub-allocation of powers to subordinates.

2. What is the Relationship Between Authority and Responsibility?

Answer: Authority is the legal right of an individual or superior to direct his subordinates, whereas responsibility is the duty of the person to fulfill his duties according to performance requirements. Authority passes from supervisors to subordinates, giving subordinates orders and instructions to accomplish the mission. It is only by power that a director exercises influence. In a way, the superior requests responsibility from subordinates by exercising power. If the marketing manager orders the sales supervisor to conduct 50 units of sales in a month, but the above expectations are not met, the chief executive officer will be responsible for the marketing manager. We may also conclude that power flows from top to bottom and transparency flows from bottom to top. Accountability is the duty to exercise responsibilities and exercise authority in terms of defined performance criteria. Therefore, equal responsibility is attached to any authority.