In any organisation no individual can perform all duties and accomplish all tasks by himself. It is physically impossible for a single individual to look after the affairs of a large business. His skill lies in his ability to get things done through others. As an organisation grows in size and the manager’s job increases beyond his personal capacity, his success lies in his ability to multiply himself by training his subordinates and sharing his authority and responsibility with them. 

The only way he can achieve more is through delegation, through dividing his work load and sharing responsibilities with others. Thus, the sharing of power or authority with another for the performance of certain tasks and duties is known as delegation.

To delegate means to grant or confer, hence the manager who delegates grants or confers (authority) on others (subordinates) to accomplish certain duties in the form of work.

According to O. Jeff. Harris it is an authorisation to a subordinate manager to act in a certain manner independently. The delegation of authority is the delivery by one individual to another of the right to act, to make decisions, to acquire resources and to perform other tasks in order to fulfil job responsibilities.

L.A. Allen has defined delegation as ''the entrustment of a part of the work, or responsibility and authority to another, and the creation of accountability for performance''. Responsibility is the work assigned to a position. Authority is the sum of powers and rights entrusted to make possible the performance of the work delegated. Accountability is the obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority in terms of performance standards established. It is the obligation of an individual to render an account of the fulfilment of his responsibilities to the boss to whom he reports.

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