Definition: The Delegation of Authority is a process through which manager assigns responsibility to the subordinate with a certain level of authority, i.e. power to take decisions, in order to accomplish certain assignments on the manager’s behalf.
Elements of Delegation of Authority
There are three major elements of delegation of authority:
- Responsibility: The responsibility means, assigning the work to an individual. The managers assign certain responsibility to the subordinates for the completion of certain tasks on his behalf. An individual has to apply all his physical and mental ability to get the task completed efficiently.Here it is to be noted, that manager can only assign the responsibility, and in the case of the subordinate fouls, the manager will be answerable to his seniors. Thus, the responsibility flows upwards.
- Authority: To fulfill the responsibility, certain authority is delegated to the subordinate. Authority means the power to take decisions. Hence, the manager along with the responsibility also delegates authority to enable the subordinate to take decisions independently and accomplish the task efficiently.
The authority must be equal to the responsibility, this means, a certain level of authority is delegated which is sufficient to complete the responsibility. The authority also flows upward, as we go up in the scalar chain, the authority increases.
- Accountability: Accountability means, to check whether the subordinates are performing their responsibilities in an expected manner or not. The Accountability cannot be delegated which means, in the case of non-completion of the task, the manager will only be held responsible for it, not the subordinates. The accountability also flows upward, i.e. subordinates will be accountable to the manager and the manager to his superior.
Thus, in order to get the task accomplished, the manager delegates some responsibility along with the certain authority to his subordinate to exercise control and is held accountable for his operations only to the immediate manager and not to the manager’s manager.