(noun) A type of power legitimized by laws, rules, norms, and procedures
Syllabification: ra·tion·al le·gal au·thor·i·ty
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈræʃənəl-ˈligəl əˈθɔrəti/
- British English – /ˈræʃənl-ˈliːgəl ɔːˈθɒrɪti/
- Plural: rational-legal authorities
- Rational-legal authority is legitimate because laws, rules, norms, and procedures are respected and obeyed because they are laws, rules, norms, and procedures. Rational-legal authority is reifying and rarely challenged. People obey rational-legal authority because of law, instead of belief (charisma) or tradition.
- Rational-legal authority is impersonal and typically associated with complex, modern societies that are governed by rules and organized around bureaucracy, which Weber contended are the most efficient large-scale administrative structure. Since charismatic and traditional administrations are typically based on the whims of their leaders, rational-legal administrations should be superior. Thus, it is possible for leaders in a rational-legal system to be limited by bureaucracies, unlike in traditional or charismatic systems.
- Weber contended that rational-legal authority is replacing traditional authority.
- A type of authority.
- Variant spelling: rational legal authority
- Also called:
- bureaucratic authority
- legal authority
- legal domination
- legal-rational authority
- rational authority
- rational domination
- rational legitimacy
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- Word origin of “rational” and “legal” and “authority” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
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ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “rational-legal authority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 13, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
rational-legal authority. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “rational-legal authority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 13, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“rational-legal authority.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/>.