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Elements and Importance of Delegation

Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2023
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It is not possible for an individual to perform all the tasks assigned to him. To meet the targets, the appropriate authority is to be delegated to the respective person. Delegation of authority means the division of authority, position, and power flowing downwards to the subordinate. It can also be defined as subdivision and sub-allocation of formal authority to the subordinates to achieve the desired result. In fact, it is the base of the superior-subordinate relationship. A chain of command from the top management to the individual at the lowest level is created through the delegation of authority, and it also serves as a channel of communication. The person who delegates authority is known as the delegator, and the other person known is the delegate.

According to Louis Allen “Delegation is the instrument of responsibilities and authorities to another and the creation of accountability of performance.”

According to Theo Haimann, “Delegation of authority merely means the granting of authority to subordinates to operate within prescribed limits”.

Elements or processes of Delegation

The process of delegation has three important elements:

  • Authority: It is the power granted to an individual to facilitate the performance of the assigned work. When a manager assigns some of his responsibility to his subordinate, it means he has also granted some authority to his subordinate. The subordinate needs authority to make the right decision and to carry out the responsibility given by the superior. Authority flows downwards because the superior has authority over the subordinates. Authority determines the superior and subordinate relationship, where the subordinate has to execute the order of the superior.
  • Responsibility: The delegation process begins when the manager passes on some of his responsibility to his subordinate. Responsibility is the obligation of an individual to carry out assigned duties properly. Responsibility flows upward, i.e., a subordinate will always be responsible to his superior. This is because every subordinate has to execute the order of a superior. When responsibility is given to an employee for a particular job, there is a consideration that is to be kept in view. The employee must be given the degree of authority to carry out his assigned job. The authority provided must be commensurate to the responsibility for an effective delegation. Inappropriate grant of authority and responsibility leads to either misuse of authority or ineffectiveness in a person.
  • Accountability: It is the third and final step in the process of delegation. Accountability means being answerable to the superior for the final result. Once authority has been delegated and responsibilities have been accepted, then a person cannot deny accountability because the subordinate is accountable to his superior. Accountability flows upward, i.e., subordinates are accountable to their superiors for their assigned jobs. Therefore, managers have to make sure that there is a proper discharge of duties by the subordinates.

Delegation of authorities is based on the principle of division of work. The process of delegation doesn’t relieve the superior of his accountability. It means delegation doesn’t give up the manager for his responsibility. A manager will be accountable for the performance of assigned work. Authority can be delegated, but responsibility cannot be delegated.

Importance of Delegation

Following are the importance of delegation:

  • Effective Management: Delegation make it possible for the managers to distribute their workload amongst subordinates. With the reduction of workload, a manager can give more time for strategic planning and for making policy. Delegation enables managers, to assign routine work to their subordinates and managers to concentrate on challenging jobs.
  • Employee Development: Delegation of authority gives more chances to the subordinate to flourish in their ability and skills. It acts as a training ground for managerial development. It also provides opportunities for the subordinate to learn and developed new qualities and skills. The delegation also helps to improve self-confidence and to make decisions.
  • Motivation of Employees: Delegation motivates the subordinate to work with greater responsibility. Delegation shows the trust and confidence of a superior in his subordinate. Subordinate takes more interest when they have authority and responsibility.
  • Facilitation of Growth: Delegation allows the lower-level management to show their capability. It helps the organization to grow. It acts as a good training ground and prepares subordinates during diversification and expansion of business.
  • Basis of Management Hierarchy: Delegation establishes a superior-subordinate relationship, which is the basis of the hierarchy of the management. It is the degree and flow of authority, which determines who has to report to whom. The extent of delegated authority also decides the power that each job position enjoys in the organization.
  • Better coordination: The three-element of delegation helps to define power, duties, and answerability related to the various job positions. It provides clarity in duties to be performed and avoids overlapping or duplication of works.

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