Legitimation does not increase the material interest of the subordinates or make the order or rule more ‘pleasant’. But it serves a need – to follow norms that conform, and do not conflict with their values.
In the context of organisations, Etzioni writes that they set norms enforce rules and regulations which have to be complied with. For compliance, they rely on power and try to get it through the system of rewards and punishments, even manipulation, indoctrination, and training. In such a situation of power, it is not necessary that the recipients of order or subordinates agree to it, or accept it as morally justified. But exercise of power in this manner keeps them alienated.
They will conform only to those actions which are backed by power. The subjects would not volunteer information, show initiative, or cooperate. In case, power weakens or is rendered inadequate, the recipients would start following their own norms or replace the former power-wielders from positions of authority.
When orders arc issued or rules set in conformity with the accepted values, compliance is much deeper and more effective. The subjects ‘internalise’ the rules, and voluntarily act and cooperate in executing the policies. They find order and discipline less alienating. Rather, they would continue to follow rules and orders even when an organisation’s power is lessened and weakened.
Legitimation does not increase the material interest of the subordinates or make the order or rule more ‘pleasant’. But it serves a need – to follow norms that conform, and do not conflict with their values. There is distinction between normative satisfaction of the need for justice or legitimacy and the need to find opportunities to gratify other needs. Some orders are legitimate and gratifying whereas other orders may be legitimate, but not gratifying, still others may be illegitimate but not gratifying. Organisations require legitimacy, that is, conformity with values. It is closer to conformity with a higher sense of morality.
In the context of governments, legitimacy can be classified into two broad groups:
(1) Numinous legitimacy which is based on faith in the divine origin of rule; and
(2) Civil legitimacy which exists when a system of government is based on agreement between equally autonomous constituents, who have come together to cooperate toward some common good.
Weber relates his typology of authority to sources and kinds of legitimation as (i) traditional, (ii) rational-legal or bureaucratic, and (iii) charismatic.