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What is the difference between power and authority?

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Quick Answer

Authority involves the duties that are delegated to an individual while power is the possession of control that allows an individual to influence the actions of others. Most individuals who are in positions of power often have some type of authority.

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What is the difference between power and authority?
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Full Answer

An example of a person with authority is a director of a company. The director can choose to make changes to an organization without the consent of others and is trusted to do so. Police officers also have authority. They are able to arrest people and prosecute them based on their individual actions, which are usually criminal actions.

Power is generally given to someone who has the authority of knowledge. When a person knows more than others, he or she is able to provide others with the leadership and control that are necessary to organize. A person with power will be able to influence the decisions of others and will often use that influence to help gain more power. A person who has power can influence the decisions of individuals at a conscious or subconscious level. Power goes hand in hand with authority because a person with power will often have more authority over individuals or groups of people in an organization.

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