What is the difference between authority and power?

The main difference between authority and power is that power is a person's ability to influence the beliefs, actions, or behavior of others, while authority is the legitimate power that an individual or group of individuals has and wields over other individuals.

In politics and sociology, the terms authority and power refer to the influence or influence that governments and political systems have on individuals and larger social systems. Power and authority are two interrelated concepts. Although power is necessary for authority, it is sometimes possible to have power without authority.

Key areas covered

1. What is power - definition, characteristics 2. What is authority - definition, characteristics 3. Difference between authority and power - comparison of the main differences

key terms

Authority, power, sociology

Difference Between Authority and Power - Summary of Comparison

What is power

We can define power as a person's ability or ability to influence the beliefs, actions, or behavior of others. Most sociologists use Max Weber's definition of power, that is, power is the ability to exercise one's will over others.

Power can affect everyone in society. It can affect not only personal relationships, but also larger social groups, professional organizations, and governments. Some see power as evil or corrupting, while others see it as good and empowering. The power of a government is not limited to controlling the citizens of that government . A powerful country can also influence or support other countries or try to take control of another country. The United States' entry into the Allies during World War II and the imposition of sanctions on the North Korean government are two examples of how dominant countries influence other world governments. Attempts to gain power can sometimes lead to war, violence, abuse, or exploitation, such as military coupes or rebellions.

However, it is possible to command power without violence or military action. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. have been able to become influential and positively influence people through non-violent protests to combat injustice and corruption in society.

What is authority

As we discussed in the introduction, authority is related to power. We can define authority as the legitimate power that an individual or group of individuals has and wields over other individuals. We call this legitimate power; this refers to the powers that individuals follow under certain procedures. They follow or listen to people with authority because they believe that those people are in a position that is inherently respectable, or because they believe they deserve respect. An interaction between a police officer and a normal citizen of the country is a common example of how people interact with persons in authority on a day-to-day basis. Government agencies and elected officials are some other figures of government that people usually accept. As can be seen from such interactions, people usually perceive the actions and claims of such authority figures as legitimate, reasonable, or true.

Authority and power

Max Weber divides authority into three categories: traditional authority, charismatic authority and right-wing rational authority. In traditional authority, the legitimacy of power is based on a long tradition, for example the king in a country. In charismatic authority, people accept power based on the personal characteristics of the leader. Napoleon and Martin Luther King, Jr. are examples of such leaders. In addition, power becomes legitimate in the legally rational authority through laws, written rules and regulations.

Difference between authority and power

definition

Power is a person's ability to influence the beliefs, actions, or behavior of others, while authority is the legitimate power that an individual or group of individuals has and wields over other individuals.

legitimacy

Power can be obtained illegally, while authority is legitimate power.

Acceptance of the people

Sometimes an individual can have power but without the acceptance of people. But in authority, people's acceptance is compulsory.

diploma

The main difference between authority and power is that power is a person's ability to influence the beliefs, actions, or behavior of others, while authority is the legitimate power that an individual or group of individuals has and wields over other individuals.

Reference:

1. " Power and Authority ". Introduction to Sociology | Lumen learning.

Image courtesy:

1. "Authority" by Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Picpedia.org

About the author: Hasa

Hasa holds a BA in English, French and Translation Studies. She is currently reading for a Masters in English. Her areas of interest include literature, language, linguistics and also food.