Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Legitimacy serves power by enlarging and stabilizing its domain. It empowers commands which are obeyed and actions performed without use of force.
The vertical axis is a continuum of power from the most informal to the most formalized. Whereas Weber defined legal-rational authority as the main form of legitimacy in complex capitalist and bureaucratic societies, the axis reminds us that there is a vast territory of legitimate power outside the direct influence of the legal system. Legality and legitimacy, while highly correlated, do not necessarily coincide. The horizontal axis captures the source of legitimacy. Religion on the left extreme indicates the sphere of the supra-empirical, that is belief in something which does not require evidence of its truth. Interest, on the opposite pole, designates the most rationally based beliefs, as an appeal to legitimacy based upon the results of a given governmental action.