Authority is always associated with negativity, but in reality has positive effects. If used correctly and appropriately, hierarchy structures use the best aspects of authoritative and obedient behavior to perform tasks and duties. In sports, athletes undergo a phase of learning rules and expectations of a team and/or coaching staff. This can also be related to the teachers in the classroom overseeing students. Failure to adhere to instruction or failing to demonstrate technique and intensity accordingly will result in disciplinary actions. As described by Niccum (2010), “The threat of being expelled from a team is enough motivation to make an athlete perform just about any task asked of them” (p. 5). The harshness of punishment causes athletes to realize the severity of their actions, which uses fear to produce motivation.  By continuously repeating this process, athletes develop concentration and drive to adhere to the coaches demands, meaning that the athletes have now become obedient to their coaches authority.

People would generally associate police officers with authority than any other occupation, but the military is a great example in its use of authority and obedience in the hierarchy structure. The ranking system used in the armed forces ensures obedience through the ranks, acting as a series of checks and balances to relay orders. All militants receive the same training or a variation of the same training when inducted into service. Higher ranks instill lower ranks with a sense of purpose, which promotes camaraderie. Constable et al. (2015) explained, “We never question a lot of the rules that people say in are best interest because they are usually told to us by someone that is in a position higher than we are at.” The sole purpose of the ranking system is to relay messages or actions down the chain of command until carried out. Constant questioning could have drastic effects on the outcome, which makes obedience key to military operation.


Constable et al. Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience. PSY 324, Advanced Social Psychology, Miami University, 2015, web          .

Niccum, Kelly. Professor and Coaches: Who Has More Authority? The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.