Considerações sobre a conceituação de autoridade

The article begins stressing the relevance of the phenomenon usually labeled as authority in the area of the social sciences. The author undertakes a general review of current approaches to its conceptualization and winds up suggesting what could be a more consistent scientific leading to such a theoretical conceptualization. The different conceptualizations are divided into three basic approaches: 1. authority as legitimate power; 2. authority as formal power and 3. authority as a quality of a relationship. The first approach is seen as inconsistent, since power as such cannot be legitimized but only its source, i.e., authority itself. The second tendency is considered to be of little value, since it reduces the complexity of the phenomenon to one of its least relevant aspects, namely the right to command. Furthermore, both tendencies are criticized for not bringing a solution to the problem of conceptualization, since they rely on the phenomenon of power, which is conceptually undefined. The third tendency is seen as more consistent, as it treats the phenomenon as a dynamic process resulting from the interaction between the claims and the compliance to authority, leading to the possibility of conceptualization in terms of systems analysis. Simon's attempt to operationalize the phenomenon is seen as opposite to this last tendency. The limitations of Simon's attempt are interpreted as a consequence of his overemphasis on the need for operationalization of concepts without a previous theoretical discussion. At this point, the author arrives at the conclusion that the most satisfactory strategy would be to give the phenomenon a through theoretical discussion, which would possibly lead to greater consensus. This would permit the development of operational definitions which could be scientifically more useful. About this first conclusion, the author discusses the concept of authority in Weber, noting that it remains one of the most consistent theoretical basis for the conceptual framing of the phenomenon, if the following are take into account: 1. introduction of the distinction between the concept domination and the concept authority as legitimate  domination, implicit in Weber's works; 2. the interpretation of power and authority as different phenomena, also implicit in Weber's works; 3. the interpretation of the ideal types as mere sets of theoretical hypotheses; and 4. the maintenance of the distinction between the claim to legitimacy and legitimacy itself. The author begins his final remarks with this theoretical interpretation of Weber and, by comparing it with Slau's considerations, arrives at the conclusion that the phenomenon of authority could be looked upon as a form of social control which is analytically different from others such as power or influence. Ali three would originate from situations of dependency between ruled and rulers. Finally, it is noted that authority, as a form of social control, should be considered chiefly as the result of a system of control of values, exerted on the rulers by the ruled, and of a system of social control inside the ruled group, and not as the mere existence of formal or informal instruments of power or influence in a ruling position.
Citação ABNT:
BAYER, G.Considerações sobre a conceituação de autoridade. Revista de Administração Pública, v. 5, n. 1, p. 99-116, 1971.
Citação APA:
Bayer, G.(1971). Considerações sobre a conceituação de autoridade. Revista de Administração Pública, 5(1), 99-116.
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