Unanimous consent by follower is the basis of an authoritative command. Organizations fail because they can maintain no authority; they can not secure sufficient contributions of personal efforts to be effective or can not induce them on terms that are efficient. The necessity of the assent of the individual to establish authority for him is inescapable.
A person can and will accept a communication as authoritative only when four conditions simultaneously obtain:
(a) He can or does understand the communication,
(b) At the time of his decision, he believes that it is not inconsistent with the purpose of the organization,
(c) At the time of his decisions, he believes it to be compatible with his personal interest as a whole; and
(d) He is able mentally and physically to comply with it.
How is it possible to secure such important and enduring co-operation, if in principle and in fact the determination of authority lies with the subordinate individual?
It is possible because, the decisions of individuals occur under the following conditions:
(a) Orders that are deliberately issued in enduring organization usually comply with the four conditions mentioned above,
(b) There exists a “zone of indifference” in each-individual within which orders are acceptable without conscious questioning of their authority,
(c) The interests of the persons who contribute to an organization as a group result in the exercise of an influence on the subject, or on the attitude of the individual that maintains a certain stability of this size of indifference.
The contributors are willing to maintain the authority of communications because, where, care is taken to see that only acceptable communication in general are issued, most of them fall within the zone of personal indifferences which is the motives of most contributors most of the time.
The practical instrument of this sense is the fiction of superior authority, which makes it possible normally to treat a personal question, impersonally.