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Delegation of Authority

Updated on November 11, 2013


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.

Elements of Delegation


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    • profile image

      Jennifer williams udom 5 years ago

      Delegation of authority is very vital in an organisation and it does not need one man's ideal or view

    • profile image

      dotto 6 years ago

      how deligation become a key tool for the success?

    • profile image

      Muh'a anas abubakar 6 years ago

      Thank u for producing this article becous it is useful to studets like me.

    • profile image

      Hemant Surve 6 years ago

      Can signing responsibility delegated from manager to class III staff.

    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Delegation is made very clear with so many supporting definitions. Some of the readers have mixed up delegation of authority and delegation of responsibility. Well, responsibilty is never delegated rather retained while delegating authority.

    • profile image

      Innocent Chukwudi Eluu 6 years ago

      Delegation of authority has become particularly necessary because no single Chief executive can carry out all the functions and activities that are vital for effective organizational management.

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      Theodore S. Greene, Sr. 6 years ago

      Delegation of responsibilty is good for every organization's growth in terms of goal attaintment, but most managers/leaders do not delegate responsibility to subbordinates, fear that he/she might take his/her position/job

    • profile image

      Ephraim Rafish 7 years ago

      Hi, put all those who you know and trust that they are hardworkers and can get the job done effectively and effeciantly on authority

    • profile image

      adik 7 years ago

      wow alam ko na naun...

    • profile image

      images99 7 years ago

      Until you have faith in your co workers nothing will take a presentable shape.Step ahead together is the key.Thumbsup

    • profile image

      Loveth Ngwaka  7 years ago

      Hi, delegation of Authority is a necessity in every organization, but dangerous if not properly done.

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      ALOM ANSELEM, Nigeria 7 years ago

      No doubt, the goal of an organisation cannot be accomplished without proper delegation. Based on that authority must be matched with responsibility.

    • profile image

      Goljar Ahamed 7 years ago

      thank you so much for your article......

    • profile image

      Molu 7 years ago

      Thank U!!!

      I have been searching for this for quite long....

    • a2z50 profile image

      a2z50 8 years ago

      Very neat pix on this site. Great Article !

    • profile image

      emeka onuoha 8 years ago

      nice hub

    • Pconline profile image

      Pconline 8 years ago from Nigeria

      hi Jacob, I like this hub. How can one differentiate between authority and power?

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      jacobkuttyta 8 years ago from Delhi, India

      Thanks all for your visits and comments

    • profile image

      Rakesh Regmi 8 years ago

      Actually this is very useful to me also. As I am the student of MSc construction mgmt, this helps a lot. Thanks for producing it.

    • profile image

      SALMAN SHAIKH 8 years ago



    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur


      I want to contact you. How can I? There is no link to your mail.

      Please mail me.


      Jyoti Kothari

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      Anil 8 years ago


      I came from blog hubbers India and I do not have any URL so I linked this to my comment.

      This is nice. My boss have delegated a lot of authority to me.

      Thanks for a good article.

      Bookmarked this.


    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 8 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Jacob,

      Authority delegation is crucial to management. One needs to be careful in choosing a person to delegate authority. One has to delegate authorities at one or another point of time in his or her life.

      Thanks for a commendable hub.This one is chosen for Hubbers India. thumbs up!


      Jyoti Kothari