Authority (management)

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This article is about Authority (management). For other uses, see Authority (disambiguation).

Authority in management is the formal or legitimate authority specified in a character that gives a project manager the authority to act in the name of the sponsoring executive or on behalf on the organization[citation needed].

There are different types of authority:[1]

  • Positional authority: refers to the project manager's authority enforced through the project charter.
  • Coercive authority (also referred as penalty authority): refers to motivating staff by punishment and is predicated on fear of losing status, positions, bonuses or jobs.
  • Expert authority: is earned if the team respects one's skills as a project manager or subject-matter expert.
  • Referent authority: refers to the ability to influence others through charisma, personality, and charm.
  • Reward authority: refers to positive reinforcement and the ability to award something of value.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grabbing Project Management Authority – Building from Scratch Thomas Cutting, October 3, 2008