Delegation of Authority and Its Principles

Delegation of Authority

The delegation of authority is a critical management tactic in any organization. Many companies, both small and big, use it to get tasks done. But then, there are a lot of things one needs to know before deciding to delegate duties. One of the goals of delegating authorities to an employee or a subordinate is to ensure various tasks are accomplished efficiently and also within the specified time frame. In this post, you will learn about the meaning, and principles of delegation of authority.

The delegation of authority moves down the curve with regards to power in an organization. In other words, a lower level employee or staff doesn’t have the authority or audacity to delegate authority to a higher manager or employee. And in most cases, the manager does not sit quiet and folds his or her arms waiting for results.

What are the Principles of Delegation of Authority?

The primary aim of delegating authority is to achieve results. Without it, then the entire process would be a waste of time. So, for delegation of power to be effective, these are principles management must follow.

  • The Scalar Principle

The line of authority should be clear for everything to progress accordingly. In other words, there should be an ultimate authority that is clearly defined. Plus the subordinates should also know whom to run to when things get out of hand. They should also have a clear idea as to who can delegate authority to them.

  • Functional Definition
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Dual subordination can cause huge conflict amongst subordinates, as well as between them and a higher authority. It can also lead to the division of loyalty, and no one would be willing to take credit for the outcome or result produced. However, the best thing to do is to define what the job entails and the expected outcome. Tasks that are also similar can be in the same group. And each person should be made to understand the role they are to perform too.

  • The Delegation Based on Expected Results

Authority delegated to subordinates, in this case, is based on result expected. In other words, the authority vested on the said subordinate should be enough to perform the said duty and achieve the result the manager expects.

  • Unity of Command

This principle tries to explain that a subordinate should report to only one superior. Though the subordinate might receive instructions or order from other superiors, it may lead to conflict, confusion and make the process more difficult. So the relationship between authority and responsibility must be clarified.

  • Authority Level

This principle takes a look at the situation whereby managers after delegating authority to subordinates get tempted to make specific decisions for them. For the delegation of power to have an impact and produce the expected results, the subordinates should be made to understand the rights they have. They should also be left to take decisions themselves instead of referring to higher authority.

  • Absoluteness of Responsibility

According to this principle, once the subordinate accepts the power delegated, his or her responsibility becomes absolute to the said superior. But that doesn’t mean that the delegation of authority will make the superior’s responsibility to decrease. Authority not responsibility is what the manager, delegates. That said, the manager will still be held accountable for the outcome of the work or responsibility delegated.

  • Parity of Authority and Responsibility
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Authority is the power or right to perform an assignment while responsibility is the obligation given to an individual to accomplish the said assignment. That said management needs to balance both to achieve the expected result. In other words, there should be a logical connection between responsibility and authority delegated.