What is the difference between Power and Authority?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

What is the difference between Power and Authority? How does power compare to authority and can one be exerted without the other? Power is the ability to get things done by others. The principle of power is to punish and reward. Power can exist with or without authority. For instance an armed robber has power but no authority. Whereas authority is the power to enforce law and take command, and to expect obedience from those without authority. Authority can exist with or without power, for example a teacher has authority over the pupils but no real power. Steven Lukes states that there is three dimensions of power, decision, non decision making and manipulating desires. In parliament when a law is being discussed by MP's and any other form of political group there must be a body which has power so that they can actually come to a decision.

Middle

The third of the dimensions of power is the manipulating desires, where a body of power can influence and persuade people that what they've done is right and for the interest of the nation. Labour has been excused of using spin-doctors to manipulate the press. As Machoavelli states that humans are 'deceivers.' Max Weber a German sociologist argues that there are three types of authority, Traditional authority, Charismatic authority and Legal-Rational Authority. Traditional authority relies on customs and beliefs that have passed through generations. Those with authority expect obedience and loyalty, this is the type of authority that was around before Oliver Cromwel rebelled against the monarch. Charismatic authority is related with special qualities of the leader, people tend to follow the leader because of these qualities.

Conclusion

This means that threat can be used to exert power, for example holding a gun to someone's head will be very effective in making someone do something. The idea of punishment stops us from doing things against the law. It can be describe as coercion, the use of threats to enforce an act. The power of love is based on morals and religion, for instance the Pope and Gandhi exert this kind of power. The power of exchange is based on compromise, for example, I'll give you oil if you give me nuclear weapons, Doh! In conclusion to this question I believe that power and authority are not the same thing. Authority is power plus legitimacy. To have true authority you need to be feared and loved. The electorate needs to know that you are there rightfully, i.e. legitimate. They also need to realise that the government can punish and reward.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers
  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.