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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 ?
The authoritative contact solution was created to help improve right-party contact (RPC) rates by verifying consumers' phone number(s), identifying the best phone to utilize, indicating the most likely contact window, and appending a best phone if there are gaps.
According to public opinion, there has been a 1% increase in the proportion of Pakistanis who are authoritative towards their family members, a 7% increase in the proportion of Pakistanis who are friendly towards their family members and a 7% decrease in the proportion of Pakistanis who are respectful towards their parents.
76 clarifies that the GASB's Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (Codification) may itself be quoted as a direct source of authoritative guidance, rather than the underlying standards.
Drawing on Diana Baumrind's work on authoritative parenting, Larzelere et al.
arents who were empathic and respectful, but who maintained clear boundaries and expectations, were classified as authoritative.
Second, authoritative knowledge sounds neutral but is always political.
According to Baumrind (1991), the Authoritative parenting style consists of a constellation of parent attributes that include high standards, emotional support, encouragement of bi-directional communication, and consistent enforcement of whatever rules they establish.
Written and compiled by the staff members and correspondents of Blood-Horse Publications, the "Blood-Horse Authoritative Guide to Betting Thoroughbreds" is a superbly organized and presented step-by-step instruction manual that will teach the reader how to effectively wager on 'the sport of kinds'.
In this study, the interactions in one middle-school mathematics classroom are examined for potential sharing of mathematical authority that takes place via a teacher's uses of authoritative discourse.
In conformity with this authoritative teaching, Pope Benedict XVI undertook in his former capacity as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to advise Catholic theologians that they must acknowledge these basic precepts of Christian morality as a condition for teaching in a Catholic institution.
In addition to the usual modes of impeachment, an expert witness is subject to cross examination with authoritative literature.
Prepared by the staff and correspondents of Blood-Horse Publications, The Blood-Horse Authoritative Guide To Auctions is a superbly organized and presented instructional manual that anyone contemplating the purchase of a thoroughbred horse simply must read before investing their time and money.