The problem of authority has a practical and a theoretical side. Practically, the decline of authority contributes to the crisis of legitimacy in contemporary governments and to difficulties in the practice of morality. Theoretically, authority is often confused with power, force, or coercion. Thus, it is viewed with suspicion. The thesis of this paper is that authority is not a form of power; rather, it transforms power. Like power, force, and coercion, authority is directive, but it is so in quite a different way. An examination of the concept of authority in three very different theorists – Carl Friedrich, Yves R. Simon, and Michael Polanyi – reveals that a sound concept of authority must be rooted in community as a system of shared beliefs, experiences, and traditions and in transcendent standards referred to by such beliefs, experiences, and traditions. Authority is that which directs a community to its proper end.