(redirected from authority figure)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.


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.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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 ?
First, negative attitudes towards one's own parents should predict both negative attitudes towards authority figures, in general, as well as attitudes consistent with 9/11 conspiracy theories, in particular.
In addition, the positive effect of vicarious intergroup contact should be even stronger when it is supported by an authority figure. Furthermore, we expected that changes in outgroup perception through our experimental manipulation would be mediated by meta-stereotypes perception.
Brown grapples with whether her complicity in the brutalities was out of a desire for revenge or to discipline Panther men into accepting her as the authority figure in the Party.
This state of confusion actually works to a supervisor's advantage because suicidal officers want a strong authority figure to direct their emotional traffic and make sense of the confusion.
My dream would be that the leaders of the alienated groups go to a nearby community center and latch on to a coach, activity instructor, Scoutmaster or sharplooking police office who would become their authority figure and role model.
Gold said a super who is having trouble with an authority figure can put pressure on the building and the managing agent.
YOUNGSTERS need an authority figure - even if he is doing time.
He wasn't an authority figure. And, as Mark carefully describes, this was not an immediate conversion.
In the course of deploring the Anglocentricity of The Grove Book of Art Writing and the absence from the selection of so many leading American art writers, my friend Robert Storr ["British Evasion," January] sees me in a role that doesn't altogether correspond with the facts: "David Sylvester, the grand old man of English criticism and the authority figure around whom pivots this strange dance of old-school studio artists and new-media practitioners, weighs in with nine entries." Yes, I am an old man, and there are nine entries, but in what sense am I a pivot or an authority figure for the "strange dance"?
Whenever some authority figure would make a pronouncement, they would finish it with a side-mouthed "under the sheets" and crack themselves up.
Instead, it is not until the very end of the document that he(87) finally allows himself to shorten the template to Janne en sinen wive vorseid.(88) (To be sure, most documents, because they are so short, do not have occasion to mention the parties involved more than once.) This case, moreover, appears to represent not an exception, but rather the rule for documents that mention the married couple more than once(89) The presence of both spouses in written records suggests that the issue presented before the alderman or some other authority figure (such as the abbess mentioned above) involved the property of the marital unit, and thus that, if custom did not demand the presence of both, it at least expected it.
Thus the "persuaded and possessed" (42) woman of the love poems becomes the "authority figure" (44) of the verse letters to patronesses.

Full browser ?