10 Difference between Power and Authority with Table

What is the difference between power and authority?

Power and authority are common terms used in the field of management. These terms are meant to influence or manipulate others both in a positive and negative way.

The lesson provides the core difference between power and authority with comparison tables for easier understanding.

Difference between Power and Authority

What Is Power?

Power refers to the ability of an individual to influence the will or conduct of other people within an organization.

The personal trait is derived from charisma and status. It tends to be independent and informal in nature. The good news is that power is exercise and occur in all direction.

What Is Authority?

Authority refers to the right possessed by an individual to exercise command to others within an organization.

Authority is regarded as a formal right since a person is appointed by high authority people in an organization to perform the duty. It is attached to positions.

Comparison Chart: Power Vs Authority

Basic TermsPower Authority
MeaningRefers to the ability of individuals to influence others and control their actionsRefer to formal and legal right to command as well as give orders
SourcesPersonal traitsTitle or position
FormalityInformal influenceFormal influence
Ability to lostNot easyQuite easy
Use of ViolenceQuite violentNot violent
Within or without systemBoth within and withoutOnly within
HierarchyIt does not follow any hierarchy.Do follow hierarchy
Resides withPersonPosition

Core Differences between Power and Authority

  1. Power resides with a person while authority with position
  2. Power does not follow any order whereas authority follow the hierarchy
  3. Authority can easily be lost while power is not easily lost
  4. Power is a personal trait whereas authority is designated
  5. Power tends to be informal influence whereas authority is a formal influence
  6. Authority is legitimate whereas power is illegitimate
  7. Power fosters violence unlike authority which discourages violence
  8. The sources of power are knowledge and experience while authority is positions given.

Comparison Video


Both power and authority are influential methods in a business organization. The core difference between power and authority is that power is the ability to influence others and control their action whereas authority is a legal right to command and order others.

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