Difference between Power and Authority in organization

Authority and power these two terms are most commonly used as synonymous but modern management literature makes some difference between power and authority in organization, on the following grounds:

Difference between power and authority

  1. Authority is legally enforced and is derived from level of position in an organization. Power however id individual and independent and originates from charisma and social positioning.
  2. Authority is formal based upon superior and subordinate relationship. Power is informal and is based upon individual understanding.
  3. Since authority is related with position in an organization, it has limited scope and is confined to organizational structure whereas power is linked with an individual and transcends boundaries.
  4. Authority is just and applied equally whereas power may be used indiscriminately.
  5. Authority is institutional and is given by organization to a position. Anybody who is offered that positions, enjoys the authority attached to that position. Power is not so given by the institution. It is one’s ability to influence others decision and it is acquired by the people.
  6. Authority relationship can be found out by anybody by looking up the organization chart. There are authority centers but there is no power centers dotted on the organization chart and it cannot be located anywhere else.
  7. Power has no relation with the position. A person even at low level may enjoy the power of influencing the decision making or even highly placed official having a lot of authority, may be proved powerless on the other hand, authority, is always attached to the position. The higher the position on the organization chart, the bigger the authority.
  8. Element of politics is inherent in power but authority has no concern with the politics because it is not attached to a person. Power is attached to a person.
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Difference between power and authority

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