17 Types of Authority
John Spacey, updated on March 20, 2021
Authority is a power or right to make decisions, direct, control and command. It is typically confined to a particular sphere, organization, situation and context. The following are common types of authority.
Bureaucratic AuthorityPower to enforce a predefined set of rules, regulations and procedures.
Charismatic AuthorityInfluence gained by someone with a charismatic personality who is admired, respected or feared.
Coercive AuthorityPower obtained by negative reinforcement such as the threat of force.
Delegated AuthorityTemporary authority that is granted to achieve a particular task or function.
Expert AuthorityThe authority of experts in a particular field that is gained through recognition by other experts. For example, research citations are considered a mark of authority in a particular field.
Formal AuthorityAuthority based on legal status or position within an organization.
Governing BodiesAn organization or team that has authority over another organization or team. Often used as a system of checks and balances whereby a governance body provides oversight of a management or administrative hierarchy.
Individual SovereigntyAn individual's right to freedom. Many political questions come down to balancing state and individual sovereignty.
Informal AuthorityThe observation that social influence resembles authority as it creates the power to make decisions, direct and control.
Legal AuthorityAuthority that extends from the legal system of a sovereign state.
Petty AuthorityThe use of authority to justify unreasonable, unfriendly, cruel or arrogant behavior. In some cases, small levels of authority can dramatically change an individual's behavior in negative ways.
Political AuthorityDecision making authority that is associated with elected government officials and the executive management team of organizations.
Popular SovereigntyThe right of a state to govern a nation by the consent of its people.
Positional AuthorityAuthority derived from an individual's position within a hierarchy.
Public AuthorityAn administrative body with a mandate to enforce a set of regulations or administer resources.
TotalitarianismA state that recognizes no limits to its power.
Traditional AuthorityAuthority that derives from historical practices as opposed to a rational argument.
AuthorityThis is the complete list of articles we have written about authority.
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