Authority is the right to perform or command. It allows its holder to act in certain designated ways and to directly influence the actions of others through orders.

It also allows its holder to allocate the organization’s resources to achieve organizational objectives.


3 main types of authority can exist within an organization:

  • Line Authority
  • Staff Authority
  • Team  Authority

Each type exists only to enable individuals to carry out the different types of responsibilities with which they have been charged.


The most fundamental authority within an organization reflects existing superior-subordinate relationships. It consists of the right to make decisions and to give order concerning the production, sales or finance related behavior of subordinates.

In general, line authority pertains to matters directly involving management system production, sales, finance etc., and as a result with the attainment of objectives.

People directly responsible for these areas within the organization are delegated line authority to assist them in performing their obligatory activities.


Staff authority consists of the right to advise or assist those who possess line authority as well as other staff personnel.

Staff authority enables those responsible for improving the effectiveness of line personnel to perform their required tasks.

Line and Staff personnel must work together closely to maintain the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. To ensure that line and staff personnel do work together productively, management must make sure both groups understand the organizational mission, have specific objectives and realize that they are partners in helping the organization reach its objectives.

Team Authority:

It is granted to committees or work teams involved in an organization’s daily operations. Work teams are groups of operating employees empowered to plan and organize their own work and to perform that work with a minimum of supervision.