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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 ?
As we continue our expansion in Europe, Asia and South America, we see an increasing number of publishers looking for best practices and benchmarks to further the reach of their authoritative content beyond linguistic and national boundaries.
Although further research is needed, results suggest that it is important for dietitians and other health care providers to reinforce authoritative parenting styles in order to increase the likelihood of occurrence of family meals," according to lead investigator Jerica M.
The context of authoritative discourse and its effect on student's mathematical agency is one of many in which the author found his practices not reflecting his beliefs or intentions.
Sir William Blackstone likewise held in his authoritative Commentaries on the Laws of England that the common law derives its moral authority from the natural law.
Statements of facts or opinions on a subject of science, art, or specialized knowledge contained in a published treatise, periodical, book, dissertation, pamphlet, or other writing may be used in cross-examination of an expert witness if the expert witness recognizes the author or the treatise, periodical, book, dissertation, pamphlet, or other writing to be authoritative, or, notwithstanding nonrecognition by the expert witness, if the trial court finds the author or the treatise, periodical, book, dissertation, pamphlet, or other writing to be authoritative and relevant to the subject matter.
In creating MedlinePlus, NLM drew upon the skills of medical librarians and information technology professionals to make consumer-level authoritative medical information available to anyone with access to the World Wide Web.
As a result of the limited authoritative OCBOA guidance, the issuance of GASB Statement No.
With 700 institutional print subscriptions worldwide, the Annals volumes provide an authoritative overview of medical and basic biological science subjects of current and compelling interest.
Previous editors such as Holbrook Jackson, whose Everyman text has been the most reliable so far, therefore took this "last" authoritative edition, with emendations from earlier ones, as his basis.
How, then, are disturbed but faithful Catholics to understand their moral obligations in the face of an authoritative teaching that generates such profound moral dissonance in them?
It may become authoritative in much the same way that the Treadway Commission Report has -- through sheer frequency of use.
The few heavy users from authoritative families and those from "Democratic" families -- where parents stress permissiveness somewhat more than setting down limits -- did much better on academic achievement tests and showed more emotional stability than heavy users from the five other family types.