authority


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Authority

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.

authority

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.

authority

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 classic literature ?
It is evident, then, that all authority in such things is bad.
It was a Pope who said of Cellini to a conclave of Cardinals that common laws and common authority were not made for men such as he; but it was a Pope who thrust Cellini into prison, and kept him there till he sickened with rage, and created unreal visions for himself, and saw the gilded sun enter his room, and grew so enamoured of it that he sought to escape, and crept out from tower to tower, and falling through dizzy air at dawn, maimed himself, and was by a vine-dresser covered with vine leaves, and carried in a cart to one who, loving beautiful things, had care of him.
It has been pointed out that one of the results of the extraordinary tyranny of authority is that words are absolutely distorted from their proper and simple meaning, and are used to express the obverse of their right signification.
It was the result of the authority of the public in art- matters, and is to be deplored.
A Nihilist who rejects all authority, because he knows authority to be evil, and welcomes all pain, because through that he realises his personality, is a real Christian.
He accepted the imperial authority of the Roman Empire and paid tribute.
The City Comptroller and the executive director of the Port Authority traded jabs last week over the Port Authority's allocation of the hundreds of millions of dollars in ground lease payments it has collected at the World Trade Center site since 9/11.
While authority in the church may seem a bit academic, Gaillardetz has a way of making it practical.
The Prison Industry Authority generates $150 million in revenue by paying prison inmates 40 cents an hour to manufacture 1,800 items, including notebooks and desks.
Where does spiritual authority lie in Baptist life?
Authority for disease containment to include isolation and quarantine
96-13, which deals with the procedures for requesting Competent Authority assistance under an applicable income tax treaty.

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