With reference to politice, the terms power and authority are usually used interchangeably. But, the fact remains that the terms are completely different and their meanings and context are different as well. As can be defined, “while “power” refers to the ability to achieve certain ends, “authority” refers to the legitimacy, justification and right to exercise that power. For example, whilst a mob has the power to punish a criminal, such as through lynching, only the courts have the authority to order capital punishment. The phenomena called authority is at once more ancient and more fundamental than the phenomena called state; the natural ascendancy of some men over others is the principle of all human organizations and all human advances” (Authority, 2007).
Power and Authority
Having power means being capable of getting things done by others. The basic charateristic of punish and reward. Power does not need authority to exist on its own. For example, an armed robber has power but he does not have authority. On the other hand, authority is the power to enforce law and take command, and to expect obedience from those without authority (What is the difference between power and authority, 2003).
Authority does not in any means require power to exist. It can exist both with and without it. For example, the teacher of a classroom has authority over the students that she teaches, but that does not give her any power over them. It is believed that three dimensions of power exist namely: decision making, non decision making and manipulating desires. When a laq is being passed in the parliament, and is under discussion between the MP’s along with any other form of political group, there has to be a particular body that has the power to execute power on others in order to reach a decision.
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