Meaning of Authority

What is Authority:

Authority is the faculty or power that one has to govern or exercise command. The word, as such, comes from Latin auctorĭtas, auctoritātis, which in turn derives from the verb augure, which means 'increase', 'promote'.

As such, authority is the attribute that gives a person, position or office the right to give orders. Likewise, it is the quality that allows an order to be fulfilled. Thus, having authority means, on the one hand, to command, and, on the other, to be obeyed.

In this sense, authority is associated with the power of the State, which, as such, is governed by a series of laws and norms according to which it is endowed with the power to exercise authority over the citizens who are part of it. Hence, authority is also synonymous with power, faculty and legitimacy to command or order.

Authority, on the other hand, also supposes the prestige and credit that is recognized in a person or institution, by reason of its legitimacy, quality or competence in some specific field or subject: “At the peak of his career, the French thinker was considered an authority on modern anthropology ”.

The authority also designates the person who exercises or possesses any kind of authority: "The university authorities entered the campus."

Likewise, as authority, the text or expression of a book or writing that is cited as support of what is alleged or said is also known.

Moral authority

As a moral authority, it is called that which is imposed through the coherence that an individual shows between his words, his values ​​and his actions. As such, moral authority arises from our actions, from the way we show others the way we conduct ourselves, make decisions, and act. Hence, the true force of authority is considered to be found in moral authority.

Authority in Administration

In the field of administration and organizational management, authority is the power to exercise command and decision-making in a company or institution. As such, there are different types of authority in the management of tasks and production processes in an organization.

  • Formal authority: is the one that is received directly from a superior or manager and that endows an employee with certain powers in accordance with his position to exercise authority over subordinate workers.

    • Linear authority: is one that generates a chain of superior-subordinate command, and that is presented from the top of the managerial positions of the organization to the lowest echelon.
    • Functional authority: it is one that in an organization is established by reason of the function that each worker performs in a specific area.
  • Operational authority: is one that is not exercised over other people or employees, but is used to make certain decisions and carry out certain actions, typical of the employee's function.
  • Technical authority: it is the one that an individual possesses due to his prestige, experience or capacity, and that grants him certain power and influence on certain subjects or matters.
  • Personal authority: is that of those who have a certain ascendancy over other people, due to their qualities, whether moral, social or psychological.
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