Political Science And The Concepts Of Legitimacy And Authority Best information 2022

Power is not power it is the institutional right to exercise power” Power’s Function in Politics Power is the soul of the body of the political system. It is the fundamental instrument of power, influence, and leadership, as well as policy formulation and coordination.

Only power makes political processes, discipline, and delegation, etc. possible. Power occupies a prominent position in both formal and informal organisations, and it cannot be ignored in political life. Or, a group of people can wield power in a given situation even without formal authority.

It is crucial in a democracy to accept power from the subordinates, or the people. It is important and necessary to increase the amount of power in politics and government. It occurs, and the achievement of political objectives is related to and heavily dependent on it.

Power: Meaning and Explanation as a Concept

Political Science And The Concepts Of Legitimacy And Authority
Political Science And The Concepts Of Legitimacy And Authority

According to the International Knowledge Base of the Social Sciences, there are numerous ways to describe power. There have been numerous interpretations of power, but all forms of power are related with influence, leadership, and power. These are some definitions of power: Biasset Power is not power; it is the institutional right to exercise power. “Power is the justifiable right to influence or direct the performance of others,” says Beach.

According to Henri Fayol, power is the right to issue commands and the ability to compel obedience to those commands. According to Allen, “authority refers to the granted powers that enable the completion of prescribed tasks. Theo Hymen provides a more precise definition of power.

According to him, “Power is the legal authority on which subordinates are required to work and can be compelled to do so.” According to the requirements, the management may take disciplinary action against those who violate the order. Even separate them from employment, Is.”

All the aforementioned scholars have defined power as the ability to make judgments, issue instructions, and comply with them. In each of these definitions, only the formal or legal aspects of power have been considered; hence, these definitions describe just one component of power. Power is a greater level of commanding authority, yet it is only because of this position that the ruling individual’s orders are not followed.

Consent of the subordinates or recipients of the instructions is one of the justifications for obedience. When subordinates acknowledge that the source of commands is correct or appropriate, just the officer is referred to as “authority.” Power is a means of influencing the behaviour of others by making them favourable, rather than on the basis of sanctions. “Power is that which is acknowledged, respected, known, and justified,” states a UNESCO report.

Scholars such as Mary Parker Follett, Chester Barnard, and Simon, etc., who have explained authority from a practical and psychological perspective, place greater emphasis on the subordinates’ rationale and permission. According to these thinkers, power generates an agreed-upon relationship between a higher-level power that issues orders and subordinates who comply with those orders. From this standpoint, Simon’s definition is more significant.

According to him, “authority authority” is the ability to make judgments and direct the behaviour of others. It refers to the relationship between the superior and the subordinate. The superior makes the decisions and expects the subordinate to comply with them. Similar judgments are expected by subordinates, and their behaviour is determined by these decisions.”

Thus, there are two sides to power: first, the authority that issues judgments and directives, and second, the acquiescence of subordinates to the authority. Keeping these two parts in mind, we can describe existence in our own words as follows:

“Authority is the power, position, or authority to make choices, give instructions, and have them obeyed, which is accepted by subordinates and which subordinates are expected to comply in order to achieve organisational objectives.”

Character Of Power

Regarding the nature of power, there are differing opinions, and primarily two hypotheses have been proposed. These two principles are articulated by Prof. These were proposed by Beach, and they are as follows:

(1) Formal Theory – In accordance with this theory, authority is viewed as the right to command, and power flows from the top down. This authority is delegated to specialised and higher officials in systems and organisations, so creating a command or power hierarchy.

The justified power of the system or organisation lies behind the authority. Due to his strength, he gets accepted. The dominant party’s power does not necessarily represent its personal superiority. The ruler is merely a functional representation of the underlying authority of the system or organisation.

MacIver referred to this as “the magic of government.” A commanding officer may be more intelligent than his subordinates. Not being prestigious, overqualified, or superior to his usual peers in any way, he may occasionally be inferior to them, but as a person in a position of authority, he issues instructions that are followed.

(2) Acceptance Theory – According to behaviourist or human relational formalist advise, authority is legally only formal, but in practise, the success of authority or authority depends on subordinates’ acceptance. This position is referred to be a “power position” when subordinates accept commands within the scope of their knowledge and abilities. In his essay “The Functions of the Executive,” he states that four conditions must be met for subordinates to accept orders:

I the junior officer can comprehend the command or information, and he can make independent decisions. I he is confident that the order does not conflict with the organization’s goals, he believes that the order as a whole is in his best interests, and he is mentally and physically capable of complying with the order.

In reality, both of these views addressing the nature of power have flaws and can be considered excessive. Accepting the veracity of these two tenets, a balanced approach has been established in which both institutionalised justified power and acceptance of subordinates have been accorded a prominent role in the concept of authority. This is the correct methodology, which has been widely embraced in Political Science.

Power Sources or Forms of Power

The concept of power has been discussed since the time of Socrates, Plato, Augustine, etc., but Max Weaver, a political and sociological analyst, gave its extensive analysis in the twentieth century. There is a close relationship between power and justification, and Max Weber has explained the origins and types of power on the basis of justification, bearing this relationship in mind. According to him, there are three distinct sorts of power based on their source:

(1) Traditional – This sort of authority is considered traditional when subjects or subordinates follow the orders of superior officers on the basis that this has always been the case. Therefore, conventional authority refers to the right of governance that comes from the consistent application of political power.

In this sort of authority, ‘delegation’ is temporary and entirely contingent on the superior authority’s desire. Subordinates are seen as servants and are obligated to obey a special individual representative of traditions, such as the monarch in a monarchy.

(2) Intellectual legal or statutory bureaucratic authority – When subordinates accept a rule on the premise that it is consistent with higher-level abstract rules that they deem reasonable, the power is deemed intellectually lawful. This authority derives from the office held in accordance with the Constitution.

In the United States, it is the intellectual-logical basis of authority when a presidential candidate receives a majority of the electoral college or when the majority members of the Lok Sabha in India elect someone as their leader and elevate him to the position of Prime Minister. In this manner, power is delegated on an intellectual foundation, and employees comply with legally constituted impersonal directions. This power structure exemplifies modern bureaucracy in its finest form.

(3) Charismatic Authority – When subordinates justify superior authority’s commands on the basis of the authority’s personal impact on them, this is referred to as charismatic authority. In this position of leadership, there is frequently no delegation, and inferior employees act as the authority’s personal servants.

Because of his charming and idealistic attitude, subordinates are followers and obey their adored master. Max Weber clearly gives an examination of only legitimate authority. Max Weber argues that intellectual-legal authority is weak and harmful, so it should be strengthened by incorporating traditional and charismatic aspects.

Different Organizational Power Structures

From the perspective of institutional power, power is exercised in various ways, and on the basis of this power, other types of power might exist in the broader context.

(1) regional at the national, provincial, and municipal levels, (2) significantly broader in terms of national and international context, (3) constitutionally derives from the constitution or from common law, (4) executive, legislative, and judicial based on conventional government organs,

(5) political and administrative from an administrative standpoint, (6) numerically singular, multiple, deductive, commission, or divisional; and (vii) from the perspective of different topics, power might be economic, social, religious, technical, etc. These so-called diverse forms of power can only be described from the perspective of power exercise, and there is no fundamental difference between them.

Diverse Organizational Strength in Force Base

Power is an independent variable that has a close link with emotion and other factors. There are numerous power sources and bases. Because the dictates of authority are obeyed on the basis of the equality of values between the ruling and the subordinate, justification is the essential basis of authority.

In addition to this, trust, thought homogeneity, diverse punishments, the nature of subordinates, and external factors serve as the basis of authority. Internal and external environmental stressors exist. Internal forces in a polity take the form of internal political institutions such as the constitution, administrative organisation, numerous hierarchically organised positions, and the rights and responsibilities of these functionaries.

In addition, the effectiveness and personal traits of the governing individual also serve as the basis of authority. The desire to preserve one’s state’s well-being serves as the foundation for power in the form of external pressure.

To accept power, the subordinate has a “Zone of indifference” in which he accepts instructions of authority without question. This area of acceptance is restricted and expanding. Generally, the propensity of the subordinate is to obey the orders of the superior in any situation, since this allows him to avoid accountability.

From the perspective of the subordinate, the orders must be both useful for the organisation as a whole and in his own best interest. He may also comply with commands out of fear of recompense, praise, avarice, or punishment. When the incumbent possesses leadership and other personal traits in addition to authority, subordinate compliance becomes natural.

When equality of values is established between the authority and the subordinates, power is at its most effective. This region of accepted authority is neither limitless nor unchanging. It fluctuates based on the position of the authority, the nature of the connection between the ruling and subordinate parties, and other considerations.

Structures of Power Force Base

Why individuals obey authority is a significant question in the context of power. Regarding the nature of authority, the formal authority theory and the acceptance theory have provided the most comprehensive explanations. Max Beber, Mary Parker Follett, and Chester Bernard have also expressed their opinions, but Simon’s opinions are more significant in this regard. Following are the four primary sources of power that Simon has identified.

Confidence – Confidence is likely the most fundamental foundation for respecting authority. The subordinates obey the orders because they have faith in the superiors. For this reason, the greater the subordinates’ trust in the ruling, the easier and more natural it is for them to obey the ruling’s orders. However, when the condition of trust is damaged, it becomes more difficult for the ruling to follow the orders, and coercion must be used to ensure that orders are followed.

Uniformity – It is human nature to give more weight to the opinions, ideas, and instructions of people whose thoughts and values are similar to one’s own. Recognizing the significance of uniformity in the context of power, the polity renders any ideology acceptable to them from liberalism, communism, or fascist, and the political leadership attempts to adapt subordinates and ordinary citizens to these ideologies.

Pressure – Frequently, pressure and coercive force serve as the foundation of authority. In every organisation and government, there exists a tiny percentage of individuals who comprehend only the language of tyranny and coercion and have little effect over trust or unity. It is the responsibility of the ruling party to ensure that pressure is not the primary foundation for exercising power. From this perspective, it is essential that the basis for the governing authority’s instructions be self-evident.

Legitimacy – Every organisation has a hierarchical structure, and the authority and orders of the rulers receive legitimacy owing to their high position in this hierarchy. In Simon’s opinion, power is accepted due to the acknowledgment that the commands of a superior authority must be followed. The significance of legitimacy is demonstrated by the fact that anytime a “crisis of legitimacy” emerges in the setting of power, the authority’s effectiveness is substantially diminished.

In reality, these parts function as a composite foundation for the preservation of power. Sometimes the symbol and proof of the supremacy of the pressure system is that trust should be the primary basis of power, while pressure remains a secondary factor in this context, and vice versa.

Fetters on Power

It is impossible to envisage an orderly society without power, yet a civilised and cultured society imposes limits on authority that must be observed. Power limitations are restrictions on the usage and use of power, preventing its arbitrary application. Power must act within the bounds of the Constitution and political conditions, and it cannot violate values, traditions, or moral ideals.

These restrictions on authority may be natural, objective ethically, internal, external, or process-related. Following is a brief discussion of power’s limits: No government has the right to deprive its inhabitants of life, normal liberties, or even restricted property. This is the initial natural and unavoidable limit of power, and any power that exceeds it will inevitably fall.

Moral and Religious Belief – Morality and religious belief are also crucial authority constraints. When someone gives directives that are contradictory to morality and religious values, it becomes extremely challenging to get them followed.

Culture – Culture refers to the people’s way of life, which displays itself via art, literature, religion, fashion, music, and ethics. The authority has no right to meddle with the culture or cultural life of the society, nor may it do any actions in the realm of culture.

Constitution, Rules, and By-laws – Since the constitution is the ultimate source of state power, it is imperative that the supreme authority adhere to its requirements. Additionally, each system establishes guidelines for the effective conduct of business. These rules and bylaws also establish the bounds of authority.

Economic Limits – Every government has limited economic resources and economic competencies. Therefore, economic resources and competencies have a tendency to constrain authority.

Capabilities of subordinates and unions formed by subordinates – Any authority executes its judgments and receives commands through subordinates. Therefore, the limitations of power are determined by the abilities of subordinates. Aside from this, in diverse systems, employees frequently engage in collective bargaining by organising unions, etc., for the advancement of their own personal interests; this condition also limits power.

International Organization and International Law – Currently, the existence of the United Nations and other international organisations, as well as the partial recognition of international rules, constrain power. Despite the fact that international organisation and international law do not have binding force, they cannot be disregarded unilaterally by the state.

In addition to all this, power also has some restrictions. Every polity has predetermined and articulated aims, which the authorities cannot deviate from. There are both mechanical and psychological limitations to power. The value of political theory rests in its ability to provide power with authority while at the same time limiting it, so that the public interest of power is maintained.

Political Science And The Concepts Of Legitimacy And Authority Frequently Asked Questions

What is legitimacy and authority?

Legitimacy in political science refers to the authority and acceptance of governing legislation or government. In contrast to authority, which refers to a specific position within an established government, legitimacy refers to a particular form of government.

What is legitimacy in political science?

In political science and sociology, legitimacy is the belief that a rule, institution, or leader has the authority to govern. It is an individual’s evaluation of the validity of a hierarchical relationship between a rule or ruler and its subject, as well as the subject’s obligation to the rule

What are the three types of legitimate authority?

Power is the ability to carry out one’s will despite opposition from others. According to Max Weber, the three types of legitimate authority are conventional, rational-legal, and charismatic.

What is the importance of authority and its legitimacy?

All power connections are dependent on legitimacy. Without legitimacy, power is wielded via force; legitimacy enables power to be exercised via voluntary or quasi-voluntary acceptance.


In the Conclusion, we noted that legitimacy and authority are two essential but sometimes confused and confounded terms in political science. We hope to have helped clarify these distinctions in this essay. Legitimacy refers to the degree to which a state’s ruling institutions are viewed as morally acceptable, justifiable, and suitable in their exercise of power. The degree to which a government is able to compel its citizens to comply with its rule is referred to as its authority.

You Can Also follow us Our Social Media for the Latest Updates on Our website

• Facebook

• Twitter

• Instagram

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *