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Authority and Power in "Identical" Organizations

James D. Thompson
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 62, No. 3 (Nov., 1956), pp. 290-301
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2772923
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Authority and Power in "Identical" Organizations
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Abstract

Power relationship among executives were compared with official authority arrangements in two large military units. Formal organization and operating conditions of the units were comparable, and in both units operating demands resulted in power exceeding authority for certain functional "staff" directors and being lessened for "line" commanders. Despite differences in interpersonal abilities and behavior, operations executives held dominant positions. Within the general power framework required by technical considerations there were important differences between the two units. The relative power of certain position varied between units, and these variations were associated with differences in communication channels.

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