The main characteristics of authority are as follows :
- The authority given to a position is legal and legitimate. It is supported by tradition, law or standards of authenticity. Authority is formal.
- The authority (right) enjoyed by a position is not unlimited. The extent and limits of authority of a position are defined in advance. The position holder is expected to use his authority as per rules, regulations, policies and norms of the organization.
- Authority is a relationship between two individuals – one superior and the other subordinate. The superior frames and transmits decisions with the expectation that the subordinates will accept them. The subordinate executes such decisions and his conduct is determined by them.
- Authority is used to achieve organizational goals. The basic purpose behind the use of authority is to influence the behavior of the subordinates in terms of doing right things at right time so that organizational objectives are achieved. A person with authority influences the behavior of others that might otherwise not take place.
- Actions and behaviours of his subordinates. It provides the basis for getting things done. Authority is also the means of coordination is an organization. Lines of authority serve to link and integrate the various parts of the organization to achieve common goals.
- Authority gives right of decision-making because a manager can give orders only when he decides what his subordinates should or should not do. In the words of Terry, “Authority is exercised by making decisions and seeing that they are carried out.”
- Authority in itself is an objective thing but its existence is always subjective. Its exercise depends upon the personality factors of the manager who can use it and on the subordinates with whom it is to be exercised.