Authority is distinguished by three characteristics.
1. Authority is vested in organizational positions, not people. Managers have authority because of the positions they hold and other people in the same positions would have the same authority.
2. Authority is accepted by subordinates. Although authority flow top down through the organization’s hierarchy, subordinates comply because they believe that managers have a legitimate right to issue orders. The acceptance theory of authority argues that a manager has authority only if subordinates choose to accept his or her commands. If subordinates refuse to obey because the order is outside their zone of acceptance, a manager’s authority disappears.
3. Authority flows down the vertical hierarchy. Positions at the top of the hierarchy are vested with more formal authority than are positions at the bottom.
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