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A structure or organization established for a certain purpose with the legitimacy to carry out said purpose. In a business context, certain organizations have authority to police, and, if necessary, punish certain business activities. For example, the SEC has authority to regulate any and all business transactions occurring in the United States. These organizations derive their authority from the ruling government and international conventions.


A government organization created to perform a certain function. A state or region, for example, may establish a public power authority to provide low-cost electricity to people living in a certain geographical area. The activities of an authority and its fundraising methods are ordinarily limited.


the capacity to give commands which are accepted as legitimate by others. In the modern ORGANIZATION the manager's authority to give instructions to subordinates is drawn primarily from his formal position as a manager, and the set of rights and obligations formally associated with the post, rather than from the manager's individual leadership qualities. However, both sources of authority can be important. Managers whose personal standing with their subordinates is low may find that their authority is not fully accepted. Equally, some managers claim that they are given insufficient powers to exercise their authority fully.

Modern analysis of authority relationships owes much to German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920). He discerned three forms of authority:

  1. traditional authority, where people obey those who occupy religious or monarchical positions;
  2. charismatic authority, where people obey those who have special inspirational personal qualities;
  3. rational-legal authority, where individuals obey laws or rules which have been devised as a result of the application of reason to achieve certain objectives.

In Weber's view the last is the distinctive form of authority in modern industrial societies, and is exemplified in the workings of the modern ORGANIZATION or BUREAUCRACY.

References in periodicals archive ?
It also recommends that public health authorities have the power during a declared emergency to use public safety officials to help enforce orders issued under this declaration.
In addition, the European Union has instituted a mandatory procedure that provides for binding arbitration to solve disagreements between EU taxing authorities in respect of transfer pricing disputes that cannot be resolved through the Competent Authority process within two years.
I offer this prayer to the Holy Spirit for a new Pentecost for the Church we love: that all of us, authorities and faithful alike, may with God's grace be fully open to the message the Spirit is speaking in our hearts and be open to what the Spirit is saying through all the people of God and, especially, through the outcasts.
establish full state sharing of Public Authority costs for wage and benefit increases up to the hourly program cost cap of 200 percent of the state minimum wage, thus establishing fiscal parity between Public Authorities and agency contractors.
Foreign monetary authorities began to accumulate dollars as they intervened to maintain the value of their currencies in the face of growing U.
6662-4(d) (3) (i) and (ii), in determining whether a return position is supported by substantial authority, a taxpayer must weigh objectively all favorable and unfavorable authorities relevant to the tax treatment of an item.
Rather, taxpayers that are willing to accept an adjustment agreed to by the competent authorities should not be required to go through the Appeals process.
competent authority may condition acceptance on the taxpayer's agreeing to waive future review by Appeals if the case is not resolved by the competent authorities.
In a subsequent examination initiated by the foreign revenue authorities, the foreign country contests the rate paid as excessive and reduces the rate from five percent to four.
Key differences between the old and new authorities are the inclusion of distressed urban areas and the use of the Federal Communications Commission definition of high-speed going forward.
17, 2001 - AU-System has signed a general agreement with the Scania Association of Local Authorities (Kommunforbundet Skane) regarding consulting services for local government IT infrastructure programmes.
The King County Housing Authority is one of a handful of large housing authorities nationwide to earn this distinction.

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