Delegation of Authority-Meaning and Elements-min

Delegation of Authority refers to the transferring the authority from superiors to subordinates to act independently but within the prescribed limit. In other words, we can say that delegation of authority always flows downwards(from top-level to operation levels). It includes all the powers to do the work at operational levels because a manager cannot do the work alone that’s why he divides the work among different individuals. Delegation of authority may differ according to the requirement like it can be oral. written, specific or general. 



“The entrustment of a part of responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance.”


“Delegation takes place when one person gives another the right to perform work on his behalf and in his name, and the second person accepts a corresponding duty or obligation to do what is required of him.”

-O.S. Hiner


Elements of Delegation:

Delegation of authority includes three basic elements which are as follows:

1. Responsibility:

It refers to the assignment of work or handover of the responsibility to do a particular work. It is the obligation of a subordinate to perform the task properly according to the assigned task. Responsibility creates a strong relationship between superior and subordinate. It flows upward because a worker or an employee always be responsible for his superior.

Features of Responsibility:

  1. Subordinates are obliged to perform, the assigned duty. 
  2. Subordinates are bound with their superior(manager) and they follow the principle of unity of command.
  3. Responsibility always flows upward.

2. Authority:

It refers to the power to do the work or to take the decision alone by the subordinate. It is the second step of organizing. In this managers keep in their mind that authority matching to responsibility should be delegated.  Authority determines the relationship between superior and subordinate. It moves downward. Authority is restricted by the laws and orders of the organization.

Features of Authority:

  1. It defines as a right to make a decision.
  2. Managers give direction to their subordinates according to the decision taken by them.
  3. It arises from the principle of the Scalar Chain.
  4. Authority always flows from superior to subordinates.
  5. Authority must be equal to responsibility.

                                                          Authority     =    Responsibility

3. Accountability:

It means to answerable. Accountability cannot be delegated because it is the obligation to complete the work/job. In this, subordinates are accountable for their and reporting to their managers or immediate boss. When responsibilities are arisen superiors and subordinates come together with a strong bond and ready to achieve the goals of the organization.   

Features of Accountability:

  1. It means Answerable about the task given by the superior.
  2. Accountability cannot be passed.
  3. Subordinates will be accountable to their manager/supervisor.
  4. Accountability arises from responsibility.


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