Power and legitimacy: From Weber to contemporary theory

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Book Chapter

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Citation only.

Gordon, R. (2009). Power and legitimacy: From Weber to contemporary theory. In S. R. Clegg & M. Haugaard (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Power (pp.256-273). London, United Kingdom: SAGE Publications Ltd.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1503

© Copyright Ray Gordon 2009




The chapter provides a comparative review of literature pertinent to power and legitimacy in social systems. The review will trace a specific path from the work of Max Weber to contemporary times. A comprehensive assessment of all contributions to the literature is outside the scope of the review. Instead, the focus is restricted to the comparison of three key bodies of literature, namely, mainstream functionalist approaches, critical approaches, and pragmatic approaches. A small sample of contemporary work that specifically centres on power and the construction of legitimacy in organizations will also be reviewed.

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This document has been peer reviewed.