Chester Barnard's insistence that authority rests on the consent of the subordinate is difficult to reconcile with the opposing reality that superiors do have the last word. Resolution of this dilemma is unlikely to bo found by prolonging discussions of the legitimation of authority, which may have reached a point of diminishing returns. Coexistence of coercion and consent may be more satisfactorily explained in terms of Simon's concept of the subordinate's zone of acceptance of authority and the resulting distinction between two different sets of decisional premises, one at the boundary of this zone and the other inside the zone. An addition to Simon's theory of the concept and analysis of compliance proposed by Etzioni gives further insight into the interdependency of superior and subordinate in the authority situation.
Journal of Educational Administration – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1968
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