10 Differences Between Power And Authority In General

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10 Differences Between Power And Authority In General.

Difference Between Power And Authority: For centuries of human existence, both terms have been used interchangeably to refer to or quantify the sphere of influence over a group of people. Power refers to the capacity of an individual to influence the will or conduct of others. As against, authority is termed as the right possessed by a person to give the command to others.

Power is exercised in a personal capacity; the authority is used in a professional capacity. Authority has more to do with legal and formal right to give orders and commands, and take decisions.

The concept of Power

Power is the personal capacity of an individual to influence others to do or not to do an act. Power is independent and informal in nature derived from charisma and status. It is an obtained capacity that is derived from information and skill. It is the option to control other’s activities, choices, and performances.

A prime source of power is the possession of knowledge. A person with knowledge is oftentimes able to use that knowledge to directly or indirectly influence the actions of others. The authority of knowledge is often independent of levels or positions. Power can reinforce authority, and authority is one of the primary sources of power.

The concept of Authority

Authority is a legal and formal right to a person, who can take decisions, give orders, and commands to others to perform a particular task. It is conferred to high officials, to accomplish the organisation’s objectives. It is hierarchical in nature, it flows downward, i.e. delegated from superior to the subordinate.

In general, authority is exercised to get things done through others. It is attached to the position, i.e. any person who gets the position enjoys the authority attached to it, the higher the position, the higher would be his authority.

As the authority lies in the designation, in the absence of authority, the position offered to the person would be of no use. Moreover, it is restricted to the organization only.

Notable Distinctions Between Power And Authority

1. When power and authority are exercised its influences the actions and behaviors of people.

2. Power is a personal trait derived from knowledge and expertise, while authority is a formal title or position given by an organization or another personal.

3. Authority is legitimate and formal, while power is neither.

4. Both power and authority can be lost, and authority is especially easy to be taken away.

5. Violence can be a tactic of powerful people, but using violence typically causes an authority figure to lose legitimacy.

6. The power lies in person, in essence, a person acquires it, but authority lies in the designation, i.e. whoever get the designation, get the authority attached to it.

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