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In: Business and Management

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Definitional activity (covering Power, Authority, and Legitimacy)

There is no universally accepted view of power. Some authors have defined power as domination over others (Hobbes, 1651) while others defined it as a passage to achieve goals (Parsons, 1963). Some look to where power lies to define power from where power lies in the hands of many, this can be seen as Pluralism (Dahl, 1957) to where power lies in the hands of a few, this can be seen as Elitism (Pareto, 1935) but essentially it is the ability to do something For example, in the UK system, there are many accounts of both Elitism and Pluralism but realistically, we live in an Elitist state.
The definition of authority is based on the power or right to act in a particular way and to influence others. To excise authority, consent is needed. Some may argue that there are three types of authority: charismatic authority, traditional authority and rational-legal authority (Weber, 1958). It can be argued that authority is used to excise social control (McLaughlin, 2008) and even that we, as humans, need authority in order to live (Seligman, 2003). An example of authority in the UK system could be the Prime Minister, as he has the power to “give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience” (Collins English Dictionary, 2009).
The definition of legitimacy has many forms and shapes but some may argue that it derives from something that is right and proper. “Legitimacy has both a normative and a sociological meaning” (Keohane and Buchanan, 2006). This argues that normative legitimacy is the right to rule whereas the sociological meaning is the belief to have the right to rule. It can also be said that, legitimacy can be applied to many structures such as states, governments, policies or leaders. This basis is used in UK’s contemporary society. The government in power has legitimacy as it is compliant with the...

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