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Difference between power and authority

When it comes to influencing or manipulating others, two things that go hand in hand in management are the power and the authorities . These two are used to get people to respond in the direct way. The power referred to as an individual's ability to influence the will or conduct of others. On the other hand, authority defined as the right possessed by a person to give command to others.

Many of us think these two terms are the same, but there is a subtle line of difference between power and authority. While the former exercised on a personal basis, the latter used on a professional basis. So, on this topic, we will shed light on the fundamental differences between the two, take a look.

Comparative chart

Basis for comparison Energy Authority
Sense Power means an individual's ability or potential to influence others and control their actions. The legal and formal right to issue orders and commands and to make decisions known as an Authority.
What is it? a personal trait. a formal right given to senior officials.
source Knowledge and competence. Location and office
Hierarchy Power follows no hierarchy. Authority follows the hierarchy.
Resides with Person Designation
Legitimate No s

Definition of power

By the term power we mean the personal ability of an individual to influence others to do or not to do an act. independent and informal in nature derived from charisma and status. an acquired skill that derives from knowledge and experience. the right to control the actions, decisions and performances of others.

Non-hierarchical power, i.e. it can flow in any direction as it can go from higher to subordinate (downwards) or from junior to senior (upwards), or between people who work at the same level, but different departments of the same organization (horizontal), or between people working at different levels and departments of the same organization (diagonal). In this way, not limited to any limit. In addition, the political element usually linked to it.

Definition of authority

Authority is a legal and formal right for a person, who can make decisions, give orders and commands to others to perform a particular task. awarded to senior officials to achieve the organization's goals. hierarchical in nature, it flows downwards, ie delegated from superior to subordinate.

In general, authority is exercised to do things through others. attached to the position, that is, each person who obtains the position enjoys the authority attached to it, the higher the position, the higher his authority. Since authority is found in the designation, in the absence of authority, the position offered to the person would not be useful. In addition, limited only to the organization.

Key differences between nutrition and authority

The difference between power and authority can be clearly expressed for the following reasons:

  1. The power defined as an individual's ability or potential to influence others and control their actions. The authority has the legal and formal right to issue orders and commands and make decisions.
  2. Power is a personal trait, that is, an acquired skill, while authority is a formal right, which is conferred in the hands of senior officials or managers.
  3. The main source of power is knowledge and experience. On the other hand, location and office determine a person's authority.
  4. The power flows in any direction, that is, it can be upward, downward, transverse or diagonal, lateral. Unlike authority, which flows only in one direction, that is, downwards (from higher to subordinate).
  5. The power is found in person, in essence, a person acquires it, but the authority is in the designation, that is, who gets the designation, gets the authority attached to it.
  6. Legitimate authority while power does not.


After examining the previous points, it is clear that power and authority are two different things, where power has nothing to do with level or management or position. On the other hand, authority is completely dependent on these two, that is, the level of position determines a person's level of authority. In addition to this, the relationships of authority, that is, the relationship between superior and subordinate, are represented in the organization chart. Conversely, the power relationship is not shown in the organization chart.