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Principles of Delegation of Authority

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Everything you need to know about the principles of delegation of authority. Sharing of work and authority, between a manager and his subordinates, is known as delegation.

The process of delegation enables a person to assign work task to his subordinate and give them necessary authority to accomplish it successfully.

It helps in completing the work in time, reduces the workload of managers and motivates and develops subordinates. In other words, delegation is a process that enables a person to assign a work to others and delegate them with adequate authority to do it.

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Some of the principles of delegation are:-

1. Principle of Unity of Command 2. Principle of Parity of Authority and Responsibility 3. Principle of Absoluteness of Responsibility 4. Principle of Delegation by Results

5. Principle of Limitations of Authority 6. Principle of Effective Communication 7. Principle of Proper Motivation 8. Principle of Clear Chain of Command 9. Principle of Competence

10. Principle of Effective Control 11. Delegation should be Need Based 112. Delegation Should have Objectives 13. Develop Mutual Trust 14. It Should Facilitate the Organisation Process

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15. Give Back up Support to the Subordinate 16. Never Violate Chain of Command 17. Degree of Authority must be Equal to Degree of Responsibility 18. Delegation does not Mean Abdication 19. Delegated Authority can be Re-Delegated and a Few Other Principles.


19+ Principles of Delegation of Authority – 10 Principles to be Followed to Make the Process of Delegation Effective

The following principles should be followed to make the process of delegation more effective:

1. Principle of unity of command – This principle states that a subordinate should get instructions from only one superior and he is accountable only to the concerned superior. Dual accountability creates confusion in the mind of the subordinate.

2. Principle of parity of authority and responsibility – Authority should be commensurate with respon­sibility. Authority without responsibility will make the subordinate a careless person. On the other hand, responsibility without authority will make the subordinate an inefficient person. So, there should be a proper balance between authority and responsibility.

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3. Principle of absoluteness of responsibility – A superior can delegate authority but not responsibil­ity. Responsibility is an obligation which can neither be delegated nor be temporarily shifted. A superior is accountable for all acts of his subordinates, whether good or bad.

4. Principle of delegation by results – It is essential that the assignment of tasks and the entrustment of authority should be done keeping in view the results expected. The organizational objectives are to be clearly defined, as duties to be performed are related to the objectives to be attained.

5. Principle of limitations of authority – The limits of authority of each subordinate should be well-defined so that one cannot misuse such authority. There should be a written manual which helps a subordinate to understand the authority in the right direction.

6. Principle of effective communication – There should be an effective communication system between the delegator and the delegatee. Two-way communication is essential to make the delegation effective. As a result, a superior can give clear instructions and the subordinate can seek the necessary clarifications.

7. Principle of proper motivation – A subordinate should be motivated through positive incentives so that he accepts the responsibility and can show excellent performance. A rational system of reward, financial or non-financial, would act as an incentive to subordinates to take on the responsibility willingly.

8. Principle of clear chain of command – Delegation of authority can be effective only when everyone in the organization knows precisely where-he stands in relation to another. The line of authority from top to bottom should be clear so that a subordinate knows his immediate superior.

9. Principle of competence – The subordinate selected as a delegatee should be competent. He should be properly trained in accomplishing delegated jobs. An executive should encourage his subordinate to take the initiative and accept new responsibilities.

10. Principle of effective control – There should be a suitable control system to measure the performance of subordinates. A superior should ensure that the authority delegated to subordinates is properly used.


Principles of Delegation

Although the delegation is an individual concern, but there are some common guidelines which are fundamentals of delegation. These principles provide basic guidelines of delegation.

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Some of these principles are listed below:

1. Delegation should be need based – The delegation should be need based. It means the authority should not be delegated to avoid the situation or outcome, but it should aim to deliver better on the job. The delegation just for the sake of delegation is dangerous to the organisation. If situation does not require, the delegation should be avoided.

2. Delegation should have objectives – Before delegating the authority, the objectives of the delegation and possible outcomes of the delegation must be made clear. It has to be object oriented process.

3. Develop Mutual Trust – The mutual trust between the superior and subordinate is very important. One should be given open hand to experiments under the guidance to commit honest mistakes and learn from these mistakes in positive direction. This will definitely makes delegation effective.

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4. It should facilitate the organisation process – The delegation should facilitate the organisation in achieving its objectives. The delegation should not aim to create hindrance in normal functioning of the department or organisation.

5. Give back up support to the subordinate – It is always important for superior to provide back hand support to the subordinate in utilising the delegated powers. If he makes any honest mistake in utilising the powers, the moral support must be provided to maintain and boost the confidence level of subordinate.

6. Never violate chain of command – The delegation should never violate the proper chain of command. The violation does not maintain the discipline in the organisation. If it is necessary to violate, the missed chain link should be taken into confidence with proper briefing of reasons.


Principles of Delegation – With Examples

1. Degree of Authority must be Equal to Degree of Responsibility:

It is important for an employee to have the authority which is necessary to perform the assigned job. For effective delegation, the authority granted must be in line with the responsibility assigned. If authority granted is more than the responsibility, it may lead to misuse of authority and if responsibility is more than the authority, it may lead to underperformance.

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Examples –

i. Mr. Sharma a sales manager has the authority to sell company products across India but he is not held responsible for collection of funds. In this case, he may sell products without checking the creditability or market standing of buyers. The company may record higher sales but may lose money against unrecovered funds. This is case of misuse of authority as authority is greater than responsibility.

ii. The production manager has been given the responsibility to increase production from 500 units a day to 800 units. He requires the raw material to increase production but has no authority to place orders and has to depend on purchase manager for supply of raw materials. This may lead to delays and underachievement of targets or responsibility given. This is a case of ineffective management as responsibility is greater than authority.

2. Delegation does not Mean Abdication:

Delegation of authority and responsibility by a superior does not relieve the superior from his accountability related to the jobs assigned to him/her. He may ask his/her subordinates to perform lesser important jobs and may focus on high priority activities. But he/she remains accountable and responsible not only for his performance but also for his/her subordinates.

Example – The production manager may issue instructions and give responsibility to line managers to achieve monthly production targets but if the monthly targets are not achieved, the line managers may explain to the production manager but it is the production manager who is accountable to the top management. He/she cannot hold line managers or workforce responsible for underperformance.

3. Delegated Authority can be Re-Delegated:

Since the ultimate responsibility and accountability lies with superiors, it is the right of superiors to analyse the performance of their subordinates and if it is felt that there is misuse of authority and responsibility is not carried out as expected, the delegated authority can be taken back and may be re-delegated to another subordinate.

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Example – Mohit, the sales manager is given the authority to handle three states with an annual target of thirty thousand units to be sold. At review meeting it was analysed that he is not able to handle all three states, the director of sales decided to give only one state to Mohit and appoint new sales managers for the other two states. In this case, the authority was taken back and re-delegated to other managers.


Principles of Delegation – 7 Well-Recognised Principles of Delegation

The following well-recognised principles govern the effective delegation of authority.

1. Assignment of Duties in Terms of Expected Results:

The phrase “Delegation by the expected results” implies that before assigning any duty to anybody, individual motives and organisational objectives should all be clarified. The plans should be made, communicated to and understood by the subordinates. Duties are always related to objectives. So, before, delegating authority, the duties should be clearly explained.

In simple words the duties which have been assigned to a subordinate in the process of delegation must be specifically stated in terms of the results of objectives which are expected to be realised through the delegation process.

2. Authority should be Co-Extensive with Responsibility:

A balance between authority and responsibility should be maintained. If sub-ordinates are assigned duties, they must be delegated requisite authority to carry out those duties well. The equality of authority and responsibility is the basic principle of a sound organisational relationship. The authority and responsibility in delegations should go hand in hand. When subordinate is assigned certain duties it is obligatory on his part to perform them properly.

Otherwise he is liable to be held responsible for negligence or misfeasance. But unless he is given adequate authority it will not be possible for him to discharge his duties effectively. But in practice, it is difficult to suggest any mathematical equality for the party of authority and responsibility. The nature and concept of duties assigned can suggest to a great extent, the type and extent of authority required to perform them.

3. Accountability cannot be Delegated:

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(Absoluteness of responsibility) The responsibility of a subordinate to his superior is absolute and no delegator can escape responsibility by transferring it to his subordinate although he might have delegated authority and assigned duties to his subordinate. Even after the delegation of authority and responsibility, the overall authority and responsibility continues to be vested in the superior. The delegator continues to be accountable to his superior. Thus it becomes clear that accountability cannot be delegated.

4. Unity of Command:

This principle states that one subordinates should own his allegiance to one superior only who has delegated him authority and assigned duties. The superior should have full command over his subordinates. All orders, instructions and directions should go to a subordinate from one boss only and all his demands, requests, replies, problems explanations and suggestions should go through this boss.

The unity in command enhances the respect for his superior, maintains his position and brings certainty. When subordinate gets command from several bosses there are chances of confusion, evading duties and escaping responsibility.

5. Clarification of Limits of Authority:

It is a very important concept in the area of delegation. By clarification of limits of authority we mean that while delegating authorities to the subordinates they should be made to understand all the limits of authority. It will help them in knowing their area of operation and extent of freedom of action. It will also be helpful in developing their personal capacity and personality.

Several organisational conflicts, confusions, overlaps and buck passing take place in the absence of clear limits of authority and area of operation. These limits can expressly be clarified by written statements, manuals and standing plans. Sometimes they are implied and have to be understood from prevailing conventions, traditional practices, habits and executives praise and blame.

6. Authority should be Delegated to the Posts Only:

Authority should be delegated to the positions in the organisations and not to the individuals. Though theoretically it is done so, but in practical life what happens is that the authorities are vested in individuals because they use them. So it is generally said that such and such man was empowered to do so.

7. Accountability Flows Upward:

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Accountability flows upward while the delegation of authority normally flows downward. Accountability can never flow downward because an executive is always accountable to his superior who has delegated the authority to him.

While determining the extent of delegation the following points should be borne in mind:

i. As far as possible the operative part of authority should be delegated.

ii. While delegating, the abilities of subordinates should be an important consideration.

iii. Work of a routine nature, which does not call for the exercise of much skill or intelligence on the part of the executive, should be delegated.

iv. Some part of the authority cannot and must not be delegated, this includes matters like taking policy decisions, planning controlling etc.

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v. The executive should not delegate all his authority and responsibility

vi. The authority delegated should be sufficient to enable the subordinate to do his job well. It should be no less and no more.

vii. Only those functions should be delegated which can be performed independently by the subordinates.

viii. The delegated part of the authority must be within the effective control of the delegator executive.


Principles of Delegation – Principle of Functional Definition, Scalar Principle, Authority-Level Principle, Principle of Unity of Command and a Few Others

The following principles should be observed in delegation of authority to the subordinates:

1. Principle of Functional Definition:

According to this, principle, every job must carry a job description. In the absence of well-defined job descriptions, there arises confusion about the performance of the job. Authority which is delegated becomes effective when jobs carry proper job descriptions. The content of each position, the duties involved, the authority- responsibility contemplated, and the relationships with other positions should be clearly defined in writing and made known to all concerned.

2. Scalar Principle:

In every organisation, the supreme authority vests at the top. There is a clear line of flow of authority from the supreme authority to all the lower levels. Every subordinate must know who delegate’s authority to him and to whom matters beyond his own authority must be referred.

3. Authority-Level Principle:

This principle states that, at some organisational level, authority exists for making any decision within the competence of an enterprise, and that only decisions that- cannot be made at a given level should be referred upward. In other words, each manager at each level should make all the decisions within the scope of his authority, and only matters that authority limitations keep him away from deciding should be referred to his superior. This is called the principle of management by exception.

4. Principle of Unity of Command- (Principle of Single Accountability):

It means that each subordinate should report to only one superior or every subordinate should be accountable to one superior only. Authority should flow from a single superior to a subordinate because serving two masters rarely works well for very long. If authority delegation is done by more than one person, it is likely to result in conflicting instructions, frictions, confusion, etc.

5. Principle of Delegation by Results Expected:

Authority should be delegated to the extent and in the manner, necessary to show results. It presupposes that goals have been set up and plans have been made, that these are communicated and understood, and that jobs have been set up to fit in with them.

6. Principle of Absoluteness of Responsibilities:

The responsibility of the superior for the acts of his subordinates is absolute. Similarly, the responsibility of a subordinate to his superior is also absolute once he has accepted an assignment and the authority to carry it out.

7. Principle of Parity of Authority and Responsibility:

Fayol said that authority should be commensurate with responsibility. A man should not be held to account for something over which he had no formal authority, and to control the exercise of formal authority, a man should be answerable for his actions. But Fayol is at least guilty of over-statement. If the idea is applied too rigidly, it will have a number of undesirable consequences.

First, if a man is to be held to account only for the things over which he has direct control, he is encouraged to look elsewhere for excuses for failure and to protect his own self-interest against the interest of the organisation. It will tend to narrow his vision, and he will fight shy of looking for opportunities which may benefit the company but which are outside his own sphere of activities.

The view also tends, to take note of the influence of personal authority. Fayol himself realised what is perhaps the greatest difficulty, that of measurements. Fayol saw the equation of authority and responsibility as a solution to a practical problem the natural tendency of people to seek authority and avoid responsibility.


Principles of Delegation – Proper Planning, Functional Definitions, Parity of Authority and Responsibility, Effective Communication, Incentives & a Few Others

Principle # 1. Proper Planning:

Before delegating, an executive should define clearly and precisely the objectives to be achieved by the delegation of authority and responsibility. The jobs should be designed clearly to achieve these objectives. The subordinates must understand clearly what activities they must undertake and what results they must show. This will enable them to know by what standards their performance will be judged.

Principle # 2. Functional Definitions:

According to Koontz and O’Donnell, the more a position or a department has clear definitions of results expected, activities to be undertaken, organisation authority delegated, and authority and informational relationship with other positions understood, the more adequately the individuals responsible can contribute towards accomplishing enterprise objectives.

To do otherwise is to risk confusion as to what is expected of whom. This principle, although simple in concept, is often difficult to apply. To define a job and delegate authority to do it requires, in most cases, patience, intelligence and clarity of objectives and plans. It is obviously difficult to define a job if the superior himself does not know what results are desired.

Principle # 3. Parity of Authority and Responsibility:

Authority and responsibility should bear logical relation to each other. So much authority should be granted which is sufficient to fulfill the responsibility. This parity is not mathematical, but rather coextensive because both relate to the same assignment.

Authority can never be delegated equal to responsibility as both are different things. Responsibility is the work assigned to a position and is related to objectives, whereas authority is related to the rights given to perform the work assigned.

There is no common denominator for measuring equality between these. However, authority should be delegated commensurate with responsibility. For instance, if a manager tries to hold subordinates accountable for duties for which they do not have the requisite authority, it will be unfair. It is also not proper if the subordinates are given sufficient authority, but are not held accountable for its proper use.

Principle # 4. Clarification of Limits of Authority:

Limits of authority must be clarified to the subordinates, so that they may not assume more authority than desired. Clear limits of authority will allow subordinates to exercise initiative, develop themselves through freedom of action and to know their area of operation. This will also avoid misuse of authority.

Principle # 5. Effective Communication:

There should be free flow of information and ideas between a superior and his subordinates. Two-way communication system is essential so that the superior can give clear and precise instructions and the subordinate can seek the necessary clarifications and guidance. Accurate and timely information should be made available to the executives to enable them to remove obstacles in effectively carrying out the responsibilities by the subordinates.

Principle # 6. Selection of Right Persons:

Selection of persons should be done in the light of the jobs to be done. Appointments should not be made arbitrarily as it will lead to square pigeons in round holes’ and vice-versa. Only proper selection is not sufficient for better delegation. The persons selected must also be given necessary training to accept assignments and authority. The superior must – (a) coach the subordinate; (b) review his performance on the basis of predetermined standards; and (c) counsel him for improvement.

Principle # 7. Incentives:

Motivation of subordinates through incentives of various kinds for their excellent performance is essential for better delegation. An important incentive for some subordinates is recognition and praise, while for others monetary incentives may be more important.

Principle # 8. Absoluteness of Accountability:

Since accountability, being an obligation owed, cannot be delegated, no superior can escape accountability for the activities of his subordinates, for it is the superior who has delegated authority and assigned duties. The superior cannot pass on his obligation to account for to his boss to the subordinates along with his authority. Likewise, the accountability of the subordinates to their superior for the performance of assigned tasks is absolute.

Principle # 9. Unity of Command:

This principle states accountability is unitary. Each person should be accountable only to one superior for delegated authority as he cannot serve two masters well. If a person reports to two superiors for the same duty, confusion and friction will result. He will find himself frequently receiving conflicting instructions. When this is the case, his only hope is either to get his two bosses or to run the risk of displeasing either or both. Therefore, as far as possible, dual subordination should be avoided.


Principles of Delegation:

1. Delegation to go by Results Expected:

The nature of duty has equal rank with the extent of delegation of authority. It should be noted that the objectives of the organisation are to be accomplished in time. The superior should clearly know what he expects from the subordinate before the delegation of authority.

2. Non-Delegation of Responsibility:

A superior can delegate authority but not responsibility. Assigning duties does not mean delegation of responsibility. The superior should be in touch with the subordinates to know whether duties are performed and the authority is exercised properly. The ultimate responsibility for the performance of duties remains with the superior.

3. Authority and Responsibility should Commensurate with Each Other:

A subordinate can discharge his duties effectively and efficiently if there is proper delegation of authority, otherwise a subordinate cannot succeed in accomplishing the assigned tasks.

Authority without responsibility will make the subordinate a careless person. Likewise, responsibility without authority will make the subordinate an inefficient person. So there should be a proper balance between authority and responsibility.

4. Unity of Command:

The principle of unity of command insists that a subordinate should get instruction from only one superior. In other words, a subordinate should be assigned duties and responsibilities by only one superior and he is accountable only to the concerned superior.

If a subordinate gets orders, instructions and directions from more than one superior, it will create uncertainty and confusion in the organisation. In such a situation, the subordinate will find it very difficult to determine whose instructions, orders or directions he should carry out first.

5. Definition of Limitations of Authority:

A person knows well that an authority alone can delegate the authority properly. There should be written manuals which help a person to understand the authority in right direction. This will avoid confusion regarding the delegation of authority and enable effective functioning of the concerned person.


Principles Governing Delegation

1. Principles of Delegation by Results Expected:

This principle implies that the subordinates should know what activities they must undertake and what results they are expected to show. Unless the duties are clearly spelt out and properly understood, authority delegated cannot ensure job performance.

2. Principle of Parity of Authority and Responsibility:

Authority delegation should be commensurate with responsibility. In other words, authority and responsibility should be coequal. A subordinate should not be burdened with more responsibility than the extent of authority granted. Similarly, excess authority should not be granted without casting a corresponding responsibility.

3. Principles of Unity of Command:

A subordinate should receive orders from only one delegating superior. If he is to receive multiplicity of commands, he may be unable to comply with any of them. Accountability will be easily evaded.

4. Authority Principles:

Only matters falling outside the scope of authority delegated must be referred to the superiors. Decisions within the authority should not be referred upward. Similarly, the superior should avoid making decisions for his subordinates.

5. Principles of Absolute Responsibility:

The responsibility of subordinates to the superior for performance is absolute once they have been delegated the power to carry out an assignment. Similarly, the superior also cannot escape responsibility for the activities of his subordinates merely because of delegation of authority. This is because though authority is delegated, responsibility is not delegated.


Principles of Delegation

The following principles may be considered as essential for effective delegation of authority:

1. Ensure Unity of Command:

This is one of the common principles of organization advocated by Henry Fayol which stresses that subordinates should have only one boss to whom he should be accountable, to avoid confusion and friction. Of course, in practice, it is not possible to follow this principle.

2. Establish a Climate of Confidence:

The subordinate to whom authority is delegated must generally feel free from fear and have a feeling of confidence that delegation will not result in punishment but is an opportunity for his own self-development and growth.

3. Establish a Strong Belief in Delegation:

For delegation to be successful, the man who delegates must himself be convinced of the need and benefits of delegation. He must also be willing to allow his subordinates to make mistakes although he can be strict if the same mistake is repeated.

4. Maintain Adequate Communication:

There should be free and continuous flow of information between the superior and the subordinate with a view to furnish the subordinate with relevant information to help him make decisions and also to interpret properly the authority delegated to him. Plans may change and decisions have to be taken in the light of the changed conditions.

5. Maintain Purity of Authority and Responsibility:

Authority should be delegated commensurate with responsibility. This is on the assumption that where subordinates are held responsible for performance of certain duties it is fair that they should be vested with the necessary authority to carry out such duties. Although technically it would be inaccurate to stress the questions of equality as the executive does without a certain amount of authority, there must be adequate correlation between duty and authority delegated.

6. Proper Control Techniques be Developed:

In a good organization proper control techniques be developed and major deviations from standard should be checked. There should be no interference in day-to-day functioning of subordinates.

7. Proper Selection and Training of Personnel:

Selection of personnel to various jobs should be fair and just. It should not be arbitrary but it must be based on certain principles. Only right persons should be placed on the right job. The person selected must also be given proper training to enable him to handle the post efficiently and to perform the assigned job properly. Proper selection and training helps to develop their self-confidence and morale.

8. Reward Effective Delegation:

Effective delegation and successful assumption of authority must be rewarded. This will provide a proper environmental climate for fuller delegation and effective assumption of authority.

9. Select Appropriate Subordinate of Delegation:

The subordinate should be selected in the light of the work to be achieved. The qualification of the individual concerned may influence the nature of the delegation of authority. This is the purpose of the managerial function of staffing, most carefully considered.

10. There must be Proper Planning:

An executive must plan as to what is to be achieved, if delegation of authority is made. He should define clearly the objectives to be achieved and the functions to be performed by delegating the authority. The job should be designed and divided in such a way as to achieve the objectives. The subordinates must understand clearly what activities they must undertake and what delegator expects from him.


Principles of Delegation

(1) Delegation Should Serve to Accomplish Desired Objectives:

The nature and extent of tasks and responsibility assigned to a subordinate and the authority dele­gated to him to use and control the resources for performance of those tasks and responsibility should be in accordance with the accomplishment of overall organizational objectives.

Before assigning tasks and responsibility and delegating matching authority to his subordinates, the manager should be clear about what he expects them to do. This means he should assign tasks and responsibility and delegate matching authority only after he has determined the objectives, policies, and procedures and identi­fied the tasks and duties to be performed for the accomplishment of those objectives.

(2) Responsibility cannot be Delegated:

A manager can only delegate his authority in respect of use and control of resources, not his respon­sibility for the performance of the duty or responsibility assigned to him. After assigning tasks and responsibility and delegating matching authority to subordinates, he cannot turn a blind eye to how duties assigned by him are performed, and how the authority delegated by him has been exercised.

The ultimate responsibility for performance of the tasks and responsibility assigned to him by his own Superior continues to be his and his alone.

(3) Authority should be Proportionate to the Tasks and Responsibility Assigned:

Delegation of authority can be meaningful only when it enables the subordinate to efficiently perform the tasks and responsibility assigned to him. Just as an inadequately armed and equipped soldier cannot fight a battle successfully, similarly a subordinate with inadequate authority cannot succeed in completing the assigned task or responsibility.

Assignment of a task without delegation of matching authority will only frustrate and discourage a subordinate. Authority without matching responsibility will make him reckless and irresponsible. An ideal delegation is that where there is a perfect balance between assigned duties and responsibility and delegated authority.

(4) Unity of Command—A Subordinate should only Report to One Manager/Superior:

The principle of unity of command means that a subordinate should be only assigned duties and respon­sibility and delegated authority by one manager/superior and he should be accountable for the perfor­mance of assigned duties and exercise of delegated authority to that same manager/superior.

If there are many managers/superiors to command a subordinate, it will create uncertainty and confusion for him as he will not know which manager/superior’s order should be carried out first and how to pacify the managers/superiors whose orders are still waiting to be carried out.

(5) Limits to Authority should be Well-Defined:

A manager cannot properly delegate authority unless he fully knows what his own authority-limit is. To avoid confusion in this respect, there should be written manuals and orders in the organization to indicate the limits of authority area of each manager.


Principles of Delegation

The principles are guides to successful delegation.

A manager, while delegating authority, should observe certain principles:

1. Functional Definitions – There should be clear functional definitions of results expected the activities to be performed, authority and relationships. Duties must be assigned to the subordinate in terms of the results expected for effective delegation.

2. Delegation of Result Expected – The authority delegated to a manager should be adequate to assure his ability to accomplish the results expected of him. This will enable them to know by what standards they will be judged.

3. Parity of Authority and Responsibility – There should be a logical relation between authority and responsibility. It means authority and responsibility co-exist. Authority without responsibility lacks an ultimate purpose, and likewise, responsibility without authority to carry out an assigned activity has a hollow ring.

4. Unity of Command – This principle states that accountability is unitary. Each person should be accountable only to one superior for delegated authority. Subordinate should receive command from only one superior, and dual subordination should be avoided.

5. Clarification of Limits of Authority – The limits of authority should be clearly defined for effective delegation; so that they should work within the prescribed limit. Clear limits of authority will allow subordinates to exercise initiative, and freedom to work in their area of operation.

6. Absoluteness of Responsibility – Responsibility cannot be delegated. No superior can avoid his responsibility merely by delegating his authority to his subordinates. Thus, the responsibility of a subordinate manager is absolute towards his superior.

7. Effective Communication – There should be two-way communication between the superior and subordinate. There should be downward as well as upward communication for effective delegation.


Basic Principles of Delegation

The following well-recognised principles govern delegation of authority:

(i) Authority should be Co-Extensive with Responsibility:

It is not quite correct to assert, as is often done, that authority should be equal to responsibility. Duties are related to objectives, while authority is concerned with rights and obligations and with attitudes. These being intrinsically different from each other cannot be equalised. Of course, authority should, so far as possible, be co-extensive with responsibility.

(ii) Responsibility cannot be delegated:

When authority is delegated to a subordinate by an executive the executive does not pass on the responsibility for it. He will still be accountable for it to his superiors.

(iii) Dual Subordination should be avoided:

There is all the truth in Biblical statement that a man cannot serve two masters well. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that a member of an enterprise should have only one line supervisor and dual subordination should be avoided. The executives should take proper care to see that orders assigning tasks and delegating the necessary authority pass through the formal chain of command and the line supervisors are not by-passed.


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