Power and Authority

Power and authority are sometime used synonymously. The main reason why is because the two entities are closely related. Their relationship may be viewed from various perspectives which may result to different interpretations. Some might suggest that authority comes from power. Others might say that power is the product of authority. When viewing the two from the perspective of leadership, it can be said that power comes with authority. Authority is rooted in the position, job title, knowledge that once has gained. In certain cases, authority is bestowed upon an individual.

For instance, people give government officials the authority through their votes in elections. In any case, when a person has authority, he has the ability to dictate what must be done in a given situation which is under his responsibility. He decides what course of action his followers should take. By exercising authority, he is using the power that comes with such authority. He uses the power in order to initiate what he believes must be done. A leader, who has the authority, has the power to delegate certain tasks to others. This shows that power stems from authority when considering leadership.

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However, there are other ways to view the relationship. It is more significant to note whether the existence of one is dependent on the others. Simply put, is it possible to have power without authority? Conversely, is it possible to have authority without power? Power can indeed exist without authority for every individual has power. The personal power that individuals have allows them to make choices for themselves and to choose according to what they want to do. However, an individual cannot have authority without power. Authority is ineffective without power and therefore ceases to exist without the latter. (Pavlich, 2006)