Authority and legitimacy
Authority, in a political sense, is different from political power in that it implies legitimacy and acceptance; it implies that the person or state exercising power has a perceived right to do so. Legitimacy is an attribute of government gained through the acquisition and application of power in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles.
Three sources of legitimacy for authority, known as the tripartite classification of authority.
three reasons why people follow the orders of those who give them:
Traditional authorities receive loyalty because they continue and support the preservation of existing values, the status quo, called “the authority of the eternal yesterday”.Patriarchal (and more rarely matriarchal) societies gave rise to hereditary monarchies where authority was given to descendants of previous leaders. Followers submit to this authority because “we’ve always done it that way.” Examples of traditional authoritarians include absolute monarchs.
Charismatic authority grows out of the personal charm or the strength of an individual personality . Charismatic regimes are often short-lived, seldom outliving the charismatic figure that leads them. For a charismatic regime to survive the rule of the individual personality, it must transform its legitimacy into a different form of authority.
Legal-rational authorities receive their ability to compel behavior by virtue of the office that they hold. It is the authority that demands obedience to the office rather than the office holder; Weber identified “rationally-created rules” as the central feature of this form of authority. Modern democracies are examples of legal-rational regimes. People also abide by legal-rational authority because it makes sense to do so for their own good, as well as for the greater good of society.
These three forms of authority are said to appear in a “hierarchical development order”; states progress from charismatic authority, to traditional authority, and finally reach the state of rational-legal authority which is characteristic of a modern liberal democracy.