Power can be defined as the measure of a given person’s ability in controlling the immediate environment or social surrounding. The ultimate control referred to here is also directly related to the influence on other people’s conduct. On the other hand, authority refers to the overall claim of legitimacy and the moral justification of exercising one’s respective power. Converting power into authority is a desirable conduct in numerous aspects.
Political philosophy, the borderlines of political authority, the centre of sovereignty, and other political obligations have been the context of thought and reference of major world renowned philosophers. Plato and Aristotle are some of the individuals referred to in this aspect (Hannah, 1961, p. 33). Considering the wise thoughts of these individuals, it is evidently vital that individuals in power should transform this into proper authority.
Ever since the emergence of various social sciences, the concept of proper authority has been the subject of not only research, but also relevant practical situations in a variety of empirical settings. These settings would include; the family (parental authority), informal authority of leadership, intermediate social entities such as schools, churches, industries, and even bureaucracies (McCornack, 2009, p. 20).
The possession of influential power by various individuals is not an attribute that is exhibited by many. Leadership is a core societal value. As such, it is vital that the respective individuals who have the requisite attributes of a powerful person to convert it respectively into proper authority (Vatiero, 2009, p. 94). This aspect eventually forms a very vital basis of proper governance.
The process of exercising power in the normal life routines may seem like an unjust provision. Individuals in powerful positions or with ultimate power will often result into translating their respective social or economic strength into improper force. This situation has been experienced in numerous countries in the world. The under-developed or third world countries seem to be the dominant victims of abusive power. For instance, Idi Amin, the Uganda dictator who was overthrown after individuals in the country got fed up with his abuse of power. The then president of Uganda did not vitally transform his diverse economic and political power into proper and desirable authority. In some instances, the actions and conducts of this person might be also related to improper authoritative conduct of a leader.
Politics is a game that has to be played by wide individuals. The normal daily undertakings of people in power, and consequently in the limelight is a matter of huge concern. As such, it is often a followed event of utmost importance to the respective people. Power that is not ideally converted into desirable authority will often have the impact of negative personal publicity (Munroe, 2011, p. 187). This factor hurts the political prospects of the concerned person. If people in the third world countries had a full democratic right, not just in writing as is now, it would not be surprising that no current political or national leader would remain in position. Some of the bitter fruits of not turning power into authority are simply the abuse of the respective power, and utmost disregard of the rule of law.
The vitality of transforming power into authority cannot be missed. It is vital that respective individuals with authority and power ideally turn it into proper authority. As such, their conducts will be highly appreciated by their respective subjects. More importantly, the fruits of these actions will be reaped by the immediate society.
Vatiero, M. (2009). Understanding Power: A ‘law and economics’ approach. London: VDM
Hannah, A. (1961). Between Past and Future: “The Concept of Authority.” New York: Viking
McCornack, S. (2009). Reflect & Relate, an introduction to interpersonal communication.
Boston, NY: Bedford/ St. Martin’s
Munroe, M. (2011). Purpose and power of Authority. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker house