Some of the most important kinds of authority are: (a) authority based on force (b) constitutional (c) charismatic authority (d) religious authority (e) divine right authority (f) ancestral heritage authority (g) authority of the elite (h) traditional authority and (i) rational legal authority.
(a) Authority based on force:
Authority based on force is an illegitimate authority. It is not exercised according to law and constitution. Brute force is the sanction behind it.
If a person derives authority from the constitution, it is constitutional authority. Authority of President and Governor according to Indian constitution is constitutional.
(c) Charismatic authority:
If the right to rule emerges from the dynamic qualities of leader, it is charismatic authority. In the words of Max Weber “charismatic authority rests on the devotion to the specific and exceptional heroism or exemplary character of an individual person.”
(d) Religious authority:
Religious authority is also attributed to those who hold top position in some religious seat. For example Shah Imam of Shahi Mosque, Delhi and Jathader of Akal Takht enjoy the envious position of authority.
(e) Divine right authority:
If the authority is derived from God it is called Divine Right authority. James I of England and Louis XTV of France considered themselves as the deputies of God. In the present era this concept of authority is not significant.
(f) Ancestral heritage authority:
If father transfers authority to the son, it is known as ancestral heritage authority. This system of authority exists in monarchical form of government.
(g) Authority of the elite:
It is the authority possessed by a small group of individuals on the basis of their personality, knowledge or riches.
(h) Traditional authority:
Traditional authority is that authority which is based on ancient customs, traditions and conventions. The British political system earmarks authority to the organs of government through conventions.
(i) Rational legal authority:
This authority is based on the laws of the land and exists mainly in a democratic system.