What is Separation of Powers?

Definition: Separation of powers model refers to the delegation of power and authority between different groups in the organization to ensure a more moderate level of management.

What Does Separation of Powers Mean?

What is the definition of separation of powers? The power separation model can be equally applied to business and politics. The purpose of the model is to avoid misuse of power by one single person and abolish centralization of power. In the business context, the power separation model relates mostly to democratic leadership as the leader of the organization delegates a certain amount of power to its subordinates to run the organization under his guidance.

In the political context, the power separation pertains to a tripartite political system, in which the power is delegated to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, which all operate under the guidelines of the Constitution.

Let’s look at an example.


Corporate governance is a great example of power separation. Large corporations implement corporate governance to separate powers among different stakeholders, yet maintain an integrated scheme in pursuing corporate goals. The extent to which powers are delegated to stakeholders depends on the recognition of the importance of effective corporate governance and compliance with the laws.

Most listed companies seek to abide by the guidelines laid out by the Capital Markets Authorities with respect to the separation of powers. However, often, a conflict of interest may arise between different stakeholders, such as the media and the public relations of the corporation or the director and a group of middle managers. In this case, corporate governance may limit the power and the involvement of a group of stakeholders in the corporate decision-making, while reinforcing the delegated authority of another group.

On the other hand, not implementing corporate governance may lead to collapse. Several corporations failed because they did not delegate powers to different stakeholders, but, instead, they allowed the concentration of power in one individual. Hence, a leverage of the pros and cons is required in each situation under the prism of organizational growth and success.

Summary Definition

Define Separation of Powers: Separation of powers means splitting overall authority between multiple people, so no single person can dictate the activities of an organization.