Sample Essay

A number of differences exist between authority and power. First of al lthe most significant difference between the two is that of the nature of the terms and the differences that exist between the types of each concept. The first of these differences being the nature of the concepts of power and authority, the second, the sources from which each derives the power/authority, and finally, the many types of each concept. As is said, “Power is comprised of a relationship between two or more people.
The political scientist Robert Dahl (1957:202), encapsulates this important relational focus in his definition of power: ‘A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something B would not otherwise do. A person or group cannot have power in isolation. Power has to be exercised or deployed, or has the potential of being deployed in relation to some other person or group. Power is similar to a currency exchange. It is meaningless unless linked or compared as an exchange commodity. Power is never linked to price, but always to value.’’” (Potgieter, 2000).

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