Characteristics of Authority; First, Some remembering of what is the Authority? The power or right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience. The right to act in a specified way delegated from one person or organization to another. A person or organization having political or administrative power and control. The power to influence others, especially because of one’s commanding manner or one’s recognized knowledge about something.
A person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert.
There are broadly five theories regarding the sources from which authority originates. They are:
Brief explanations of the above three theories are given below;
According to his theory, the authority ﬂows top to bottom through the structure of an organization. In other words, the authority ﬂows from the General Manager to his departmental manager and in turn, from the departmental manager to his superintendent and the like. This is explained in the following diagram.
Board of Directors → General Manager → Sales Manager → Sales Representatives → Workers
The Formal Authority Theory is otherwise called Traditional Authority Theory and Top-Down Authority Theory. In the case of a public limited company, the authority is in the hands of shareholders and they delegate their authority to top management, and in turn, a part of this authority is a delegate to the middle management.
Chester Bannard gave this theory. According to his theory, the authority ﬂows from the superior to the subordinates whenever there is an acceptance on the part of the subordinates. The subordinates should accept the authority but there is no compulsion made by the superior. If the subordinates do not accept the command of their superior, then the superior cannot say to have any authority over them.
According to Bannard,
“An individual will accept the exercise of authority, if the advantages accruing to him from accepting plus the disadvantages accruing to him from not accepting exceed the advantages accruing to him from not accepting plus the disadvantages accruing to him for accepting and conversely, he will not accept the exercise of authority if the latter factors exceed the former.”
The authority of a superior will be effective only when there is the willingness on the part of the subordinate to accept authority and ineffective when there is a lack of readiness to accept the authority on the part of the subordinate. The subordinate will not analyze every order of the superior to accept it or not. In fact, the subordinate without a second thought accepts certain orders of the superior. If the subordinate without any hesitation accepts the order of the superior, it is knowing as the zone of acceptance.
The following acceptance below are;
This type of authority is investing with the persons by virtue of the ofﬁce hold by them. The personal power of this type of persons is based on the leadership qualities of the person concerned. In an organization, only one person gets a higher position than others in the course of time-based on leadership qualities possessed by him.
In a family system, the father exercises traditional authority over members of the family. The traditional authority is generally following in the Indian family system. It is the father who guides the activities of the family and others obey out of respect and traditions.
In the traditional form of authority, there is no formal law or structured discipline and relationships are governed by personal loyalty and faithfulness rather than compulsions of rules and regulations or duties of the office.
The charismatic authority rests on the personal charisma of a leader who commands the respect of his followers. The personal traits such as good looks, intelligence, integrity, etc., influence others and people follow the dictates of their leaders because of such traits.
The people follow the leader because they feel that he will help them in achieving their goals. The charismatic leaders are generally good orators and have a hypnotic effect on the followers. The religious leaders and political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Keneddy of America come under this category.
The Charismatic phenomena also extend to film actors, actresses, and war heroes. Film actors and actresses have been successful in raising huge funds for calamities etc. because of their charismatic personalities. Even political parties associate actors and actresses with them to collect crowds for their rallies. People follow some leaders/persons because of their charismatic personalities and not because of any other factor.
The characteristics of authority are brieﬂy explain below;
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