Delegation of Authority
In any organization no individual can perform all duties and accomplish all tasks by himself. It is physically impossible for a single individual to look after the affairs of a large business. His skill lies in his ability to get thins done through others. As an organization grows in size and the manager's job increases beyond his personal capacity, his success lies in his ability to multiply himself by training his subordinates and sharing his authority and responsibility with them. The only way he can achieve more is through delegation - through dividing his work load and sharing responsibilities with others. The sharing of power or authority with another for the performance of certain tasks and duties is known as delegation of authority.
To delegate means to grant or confer; hence the manager who delegates, grants or confers (authority) on others (subordinates) to accomplish certain duties in the form of work.
According to O. Jeff Harris it is an authorization to a subordinate manager to act in a certain manner independently. The delegation of authority is the delivery by one individual to another of the right to act, to make decisions, to acquire resources and to perform other tasks in order to fulfill job responsibilities.
L. A. Allen has defined delegation as a entrustment of a part of the work, or responsibility and authority to another, and the creation of accountability for performance. Responsibility is the work assigned to a person. Authority is the sum of powers and rights entrusted to make possible the performance of the work delegated. Accountability is the obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority in terms of performance standards established. It is the obligation of an individual to render an account of the fulfillment of his responsibilities to the boss to whom he reports.
Delegation of Authority
Just as no one person in an enterprise can do all the tasks necessary for accomplishment of goals so it is impossible, as an enterprise grows, for one person to exercise all the authority for making decisions. There is a limit to the number of persons managers can effectively supervise and make decisions. Once this limit is passed, authority must be delegated to subordinates, who will make decisions within the area of their assigned duties.
The question is how authority is delegated when decision-making power is vasted in a subordinate by his superior. Clearly, superiors cannot delegate authority they do not have. It is equally clear that superiors cannot delegate all their authority without without, in effect, transferring their position to their subordinates. The entire process of delegation involves four steps. They are:
1. The determination of results expected from persons in a position
2. The assignment of tasks to persons
3. The delegation of authority for accomplishing tasks
4. The holding of people responsible for the accomplishment of these tasks.
Therefore, delegation is the process that a manager follows in dividing the work assigned to him so that he performs that part, which because of his position he can perform effectively.
There is a difference between delegation and work assignment. Delegation constitutes a master agent relationship while work assignment constitutes master servant relationship. An employee's work assignment may be reflected in his job description while delegated duties may not form the part of the employee's normal duties.
Delegation is legitimate authorization to a manager or employee to act in specified ways. It enables him to function independently without reference to the supervisor but within the limits set by the supervisor and the normal framework of organizational objectives, policies, rules and procedures.