What is legitimate power?

In leadership, the legitimate power is understood in terms of the position of the leader. The leaders placement can be anywhere within the organization, but there are certain position that hold legitimate power and greater control over the organization. The boss or the CEO who holds the seat of influence and power hold the legitimate power. The overall direction is taken by this person and he holds the right to change and close the decisions regarding any of the units within the organization. The employees win the organization are expected to follow this person and show respect (Erkutlu & Chafra, 2006).

Answering the question what is legitimate power is tricky. The legitimate leadership power can also be understood in terms of the ability of the leadership to influence any section of the organization. When the organization is small or medium size the boss figure or the main head of the setup hold greater power and there are more chances of quick decisions and firing process when it comes to the relationship with employees and followers. The legitimate power is also given by the higher more powerful authority to someone who is appointed to do a certain set of tasks. When the leader is hired by the government to a certain department and given the power and authority to control the certain department, the placement of the leader becomes legitimate power and he has the sole control over the given department and its decisions.


Erkutlu, H. V., & Chafra, J. (2006). Relationship between leadership power bases and job stress of subordinates: example from boutique hotels.Management Research News, 29(5), 285-297.