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rational-legal authority

Definition of Rational-legal Authority

(noun) A type of power legitimized by laws, rules, norms, and procedures

Example of Rational-legal Authority

Rational-legal Authority Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: ra·tion·al le·gal au·thor·i·ty

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /rAsh-uhn-l-lEEgUHl uh-thOR-uh-tee/
  • British English – /rAsh-uh-nuhl-lEEgUHl aw-thOr-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈræʃənəl-ˈligəl əˈθɔrəti/
  • British English – /ˈræʃənl-ˈliːgəl ɔːˈθɒrɪti/

Usage Notes

  • 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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Works Consulted

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Cite the Definition of Rational-legal Authority

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “rational-legal authority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 23, 2024 (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 May 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“rational-legal authority.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 23 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/rational-legal-authority/>.