Principles of Delegation

Delegation is one of the most important elements in the organising process. It is through delegation that interrelationships are created in any organisation. There are certain principles which may be followed as guidelines for effective delegation. These principles are:

Principle of delegation by results: The purpose of delegation is to get work done through another more effectively and efficiently than it may be accomplished by the delegator himself in a given situation. It is, therefore, essential that the assignment of task or duty and the entrustment of authority should be done keeping in view the results expected.

Delegation by result implies that goals have already been set and properly communicated to the delegatee and understood by him and that the job assigned fits the objectives.


Principles of competence: The person selected as a delegatee should be competent for the task assigned to him.


Principle of trust and confidence: It is necessary that there is an atmosphere of trust and confidence in the organisation as a whole and that there is a feeling of trust between the delegator and the delegatee. The delegatee should enjoy mental freedom in his work. He would be able to use his initiative and drive in work if he is mentally free.


Principle of parity between authority and responsibility: Authority delegated should be adequate in relation to the responsibility. It is logical that the responsibility for actions cannot be greater than the authority delegated, nor should it be less.


Principle of unity of command: The principle of unity of command describes the authority-responsibility relationships. The principle stresses that each subordinate should have only one boss to whom he should be accountable to avoid confusion and conflict. In delegation, it is assumed that the right of discretion over a particular activity will flow from a single superior to a subordinate.


Principle of absolute responsibility: Responsibility is an obligation which can neither be delegated nor be temporarily shifted. No superior can escape the responsibility for the activities of his subordinates through delegation, because it is the superior who has delegated the authority and has assigned duties. Similarly, the responsibility of the subordinate to his superior for performance of the delegated duties is absolute and cannot be shifted.


Principle of adequate communication: There should be free flow of information between superior and subordinate. This enables the subordinate to take decisions and interpret correctly the nature of the task to be completed with the nature and degree of authority vested in him.


Principle of effective control: As the delegator delegates his authority but not the responsibility, he should ensure that the authority delegated is properly used.


Principle of reward:Effective delegation and proper exercise of authority should be rewarded. A rational rewarded system of reward would act as an incentive to subordinates to willingly take the responsibility and assume authority and also create a healthy environment within the organisation.


Principle of receptiveness:Delegation needs and it also creates an understanding between the superior and subordinate. Decision-making involves some discretion. This means that no two decisions or two persons can exactly be the same. It is therefore, necessary that the superior who delegates authority accommodates the ideas of his subordinates.

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