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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.
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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.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


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.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
Most banking organizations in fact do not make use of their existing authorities and, thus, do not participate in either the public or the private equities market.
This will not serve to limit interstate agreements (between taxing authorities) to collect data for each other where authorized by statute.
Next, the court stated that in most cases involving substantial authority, the Tax Court " little explanation as to why there is substantial authority in one case, but not in another." The court concluded both that there were no court decisions that provided guidance on substantial authority and the test in the regulations was unhelpful in "an all or nothing case of this kind." (Presumably, the court was referring to the "weighing of authorities" test in the regulations.)
(5.) Before the establishment of the FSC, there were four industry-specific financial supervisory authorities in Korea; the FSC was created as a single integrated financial supervisory authority.
monetary authorities operated in the exchange market this morning in cooperation with the monetary authorities of Japan.
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.
The purpose of setting up the authority is to avoid dependence on other development authorities like Capital Development Authority (CDA) in Islamabad, Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Karachi Development Authority (KDA) for acquisition of land.
Taking the floor, President of the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture Fethi AL Jarry pointed out that the Prime Ministry can play a significant role in the reinforcement of the material and administrative autonomy of the authorities, estimating that its authority has managed in spite of the lack of means to complete his annual report and present it to the Head of State.
Another kind of problem arises when there are competing authorities, both of whom are more likely to get the truth than I, but that disagree with each other, and I am not in a position to judge which one is more authoritative.
Authorities lost radar contact with Gol flight 1907 on Friday afternoon during its journey from the principal Amazon city of Manaus to the capital Brasilia, the airline said.
This and other legislation further bureaucraticized state administration of Africans and moved the country towards territorial segregation in what one scholar has described as a system of "decentralized despotism." (1) In the 1950s, with legislation such as the 1951 Bantu Authorities Act, the third era began with the Bantustan policies of grand apartheid, wherein the former reserves would become sovereign nation-states.
The Justice Department laid out its rationale for the spying in a document entitled "Legal Authorities Supporting the Activities of the National Security Agency." Unlike Bush, it acknowledged that "individual privacy issues at stake may be substantial."