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Definition: Authority

It refers to having the right to direct others, make decisions and give orders. In other words, it refers to being in a state of power. An organization will cease to exist without proper authority being in the hands of managers. Without it, he will not be able to get the policies implemented or get the work done.

A manager cannot perform all the tasks by himself, therefore he must delegate his authority and responsibilities to his subordinated from above. One single person must not have all the authorities. Authority flows downwards.

Delegation of Authority:

• The delegator must assign duties to his subordinates along with the results excepted from them. Defining the result expected from them will help them know what is to be achieved; will help them know the targets.

• After assigning the duties, it is also important to grant authorities to the subordinates. Enough authority must be granted to help the employee carry out his task and deliver the expected results. Without enough authority it is impossible to carry out any task efficiently and effectively.

• After assigning the task and granting appropriate authority to carry out the task, the superior is accountable for the performance of his subordinate. He is the one answerable to his boss for completion of the work.

Types of authority:

• Staff authority: Staff managers have this authority. They advise other managers or employees about how the work is to be done. It creates an advisory and informal relationship.

Example: A mentor appointed to a new joinee, who helps him know the organization more.

• Line authority: Line managers have this authority. They issue orders, instead of advising, to other managers or employees. It creates a superior-subordinate relationship. It is more of a formal relationship between them.

Example: Boss asks the sales manager to deliver his targets on time.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Authority along with its overview.

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