Delegation of authority is the process of assigning responsibility by manager to subordinate with a certain level of authority to in order to complete a certain task. The delegation is an important function to carry on work systematically in an organization. It provides a sense of responsibility, a chance to grow and take initiatives to whom the authority is delegated. In sole proprietorship business, the delegation is not required because in this type of business only one person performs all the tasks. But as business expands and number of employees increases, delegation becomes essential.
Elements of Delegation of Authority
Following are the three important elements of delegation.
Assigning work to an individual is responsibility. One person cannot perform all the tasks. Therefore, the manager assigns certain responsibility to his subordinate for the completion of certain task on his behalf. When assigning duty to subordinate, the manager has to decide which part of work he will do himself and which part should be transferred to his subordinate. After assigning work to subordinate, the subordinate uses his all physical and mental ability to get the task completed efficiently. In case of subordinate fouls to complete the task, the manager will be answerable to his senior. Thus, the responsibility flows upward. The middle and lower level management holds more responsibility.
Power to take decisions is authority. Certain authority has to be delegated to subordinate to fulfill the responsibility. So, when manager is assigning work to his subordinate, he has to delegates some authority to subordinate in order to complete the task. The intelligence, experience of work, moral worth and ability to lead of subordinate is assessed before delegation of authority. The manager cannot pass all the authority to subordinate. The authority must be equal to the responsibility. If the authority is more than the responsibility, it may lead to misuse. Conversely, if the responsibility is more than the authority, it will lead to incapability of completion of assigned duty. The authority has a top to bottom flow. Superior has authority over his subordinate.
When the work is assigned and the authority is delegated then accountability starts. It is the process of checking whether subordinates perform their responsibilities in an expected manner or not. In simple words, accountability means being answerable for the end result. Once the responsibility has been accepted and the authority has been delegated, the accountability cannot be denied. The accountability flows upward. A subordinate is accountable to his manager and manager to his superior.