December 04, 2018

Principles of Delegation of Authority

December 04, 2018
Assigning tasks to subordinates and giving them authority to perform the tasks is delegation of authority. It is an important function to carry on work systematically in an organization.  It helps to minimize the burden of a manager because through process of delegation the daily responsibilities of the manager are reduced. The delegation provides a chance to grow and take initiatives to whom the authority is delegated.

Principles of delegation of authority

Principles of Delegation of Authority

Following are the principles that serve as guidelines for effective delegation of authority.

1. Principle of Functional Definition

An organization is categorized by various functional departments. Each department has its specific objectives. When these goals and objectives are clearly defined, then the manager can determine the requirements of that specific position. When the position is clearly defined then delegation of authority becomes easy. The subordinates can perform efficiently when they are made aware of their duties and the expected results.

2. Unity of Command

Unity of command is one of the basic principles of management. According to this principle, a subordinate should have a single superior from whom he obtains authority and to whom he is solely accountable. It means the subordinate should receive orders and instructions from a single superior and report to such a superior. On the other hand, if the subordinate is required to report to more than one superior, there may be confusion and conflicts.  Unity of command also eliminates overlapping and duplication of work.

3. Parity of Authority and Responsibility

The delegation of authority should be based on the assigned responsibility. If subordinate is assigned certain responsibility, he must be given some authority in order to perform his duty.  There should be proper balance between authority and responsibility. If the authority is greater than the responsibility, it may lead to misuse. On the other hand, if the responsibility is greater than the authority, the subordinate will not be able perform his duty efficiently. So the subordinate should be given adequate authority so that he can carry out his duties.

4. The Scalar Principle

According to this principle, there should be a proper hierarchy in the organization. It means there should be clear lines of authority running from top to bottom in the organization. When authority flows from top to bottom, it becomes easy for the subordinate to know who delegates authority to him and to whom he will be accountable. This also helps the subordinate to whom he should contact for matters beyond his authority.  

 5. Absoluteness of Responsibility

This principle states that only authority is delegated not the responsibility.  The responsibility is absolute and remains with the superior even after delegating authority to subordinate. The superior remains fully accountable to his superior.  In simple words, the superior will be answerable to his superior whatever actions taken by the subordinate.

6. Clarity of Delegation

The delegation of authority should be clear and understandable to subordinates. The manger should allow the subordinates to make their own decisions as per the authority delegated to them. The manager should know the purpose of delegation and the results expected from it. The subordinates should know the area of their operation and the extent of freedom of action available to them.

 7. Principle of Exception

This principle suggests that the subordinate should be given adequate freedom to perform his duty under the purview of his authority. The manager should not interfere the subordinate while he is performing his duty even he does the mistakes.  But under exceptional circumstance, the manager can interfere in the work of his subordinate and even withdraw the authority delegated to him.


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