Delegation of Authority

Just as no one person in an enterprise can do all the tasks necessary for accomplishment of goals so it is impossible, as an enterprise grows, for one person to exercise all the authority for making decisions. As you know that, there is a limit to the number of persons, managers can effectively supervise and for whom they can make decisions. Once this limit is passed, authority must be delegated to subordinates, who will make decisions within the area of their assigned duties.

Then the question is how is authority delegated when decision-making power is vested in a subordinate by his superior. Clearly, superiors cannot delegate authority they do not have. It is equally clear that superiors cannot delegate all their authority without, in effect, transferring their position to their subordinates. The entire process of delegation involves four steps. They are:

1)     The determination of results expected from persons in a position ;

2)     The assignment of tasks to persons;

3)     The delegation of authority for accomplishing these tasks;

4)     The holding of people responsible for the accomplishment of these tasks.

Thus, delegation is the process that a manager follows in dividing the work assigned to him so that he performs that part, which because of his position he can perform effectively.

But there is a difference between delegation and work assignment. Delegation constitutes a master agent relationship while work assignment constitutes master servant relationship. An employee’s work assignment may be reflected in his job description while delegated duties may not form the part of the employee’s normal duties.

Delegation is legitimate authorisation to a manager or employee to act in specified ways. It enables him to function independently without reference to the supervisor but within the limits set by the supervisor and the normal framework of organisational objectives, policies, rules and procedures.

From the above discussion, it is clear that delegation involves; a) entrustment of work to another for performance b) grant of power, right or authority to be exercised to perform the work, c) creation of an obligation on the part of the person accepting delegation.

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