A Business Encyclopedia

Delegation of Authority

Definition: The Delegation of Authority is an organizational process wherein, the manager divides his work among the subordinates and give them the responsibility to accomplish the respective tasks. Along with the responsibility, he also shares the authority, i.e. the power to take decisions with the subordinates, such that responsibilities can be completed efficiently.

In other words, a delegation of authority involves the sharing of authority downwards to the subordinates and checking their efficiency by making them accountable for their doings. In an organization, the manager has several responsibilities and work to do. So, in order to reduce his burden, certain responsibility and authority are delegated to the lower level, i.e. to the subordinates, to get the work done on the manager’s behalf.

Under the delegation of authority, the manager does not surrender his authority completely, but only shares certain responsibility with the subordinate and delegates that much authority which is necessary to complete that responsibility.

Delegation of Authority

Features of Delegation of Authority

  1. Delegation means giving power to the subordinate to act independently but within the limits prescribed by the superior. Also, he must comply with the provisions of the organizational policy, rules, and regulations.
  2. Delegation does not mean that manager give up his authority, but certainly he shares some authority with the subordinate essential to complete the responsibility entrusted to him.
  3. Authority once delegated can be further expanded, or withdrawn by the superior depending on the situation.
  4. The manager cannot delegate the authority which he himself does not possess. Also, he can not delegate his full authority to a subordinate.
  5. The delegation of authority may be oral or written, and may be specific or general.
  6. The delegation is an art and must comply with all the fundamental rules of an organization.

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