What is the difference between Power and Authority/comparison table

If we talk about authority, it is practically impossible to conceive it without thinking about the power that it entails. These pair of concepts are usually very closely related, so sometimes the definition of one can be confused with that of the other. In fact, the concept of authority is part of the definition of power and that of power, of the definition of authority. Although both words have a close and mutually inclusive definition, it is important not to confuse them, since they are different concepts. What is the difference between Power and Authority?

Comparison table  What is the difference between Power and Authority?

Definition Power is the ability of a person to exercise dominion over an individual or a group of individuals. Power often entails a position of authority, which is usually recognized by a maximum figure within a community. There is currently a bit of a discrepancy as to the definition of this word. Authority is a faculty, a privilege in the form of power in a person who is in charge of a situation. It is the faculty of recognized preponderance in the influence that a person can have on another person or a group of people. It can also be described as the ability to exercise power over someone or something.
General description Power can be understood as synonymous with the words dominance, strength or ability. On many occasions power can be diverted and exalted, then it is said that it has become authoritarian and hegemonic. For power to function, there must be domination and obedience. Many philosophers and sociologists have studied this concept throughout history.

Authority was born as a human need. The first civilizations realized that to survive it was necessary to have a structure, with a type of social organization that would allow them to face risks and give them a greater chance of survival. This came from the bottom up: subordinates chose and accepted authority.

Types Power itself cannot be broken down into subtypes. However, there are dimensions that it acquires once the two mandatory conditions mentioned above (domination and obedience) have been met:

  • Personal. It is the capacity of the individual.
  • Relational. The ability of the individual to present himself in front of a group of people and dominate it.
  • Organizational. The control of the individual over this group.
  • Structural. The power that organizes the unit and directs its energies.
According to some authors, there are four different types of authority:

  1.  Linear (legal, its acceptance is mandatory)
  2. Functional (legal, same as above)
  3. Technique (moral, imposed by conviction)
  4. Personal (moral, same as above) What is the difference between Power and Authority?

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