Delegation and Decentralisation

Delegation refers to the process of getting things done by others by giving them reasonable authority and responsibility. Features of delegation:
•    sharing of work and authority with others,
•    based on the elementary principle of ‘Division of work,
•    possible only when a superior has reasonable authority to delegate his responsibilities, etc.
•    Importance of delegation:
•    effective management ,
•    development of employees,
•    motivate employees,
•    facilitates organisational growth, etc.
Delegation involves three essential elements like Authority is delegated, Responsibility is assumed and Accountability is imposed. Authority can be categorised into formal, competence and acceptance authority. Advantages of delegation by an organization:
•    effective management,
•    development of employees,
•    motivation of employees,
•    facilitate organisational growth, etc.
Barriers of delegation refers to failure of delegation is the result of half-hearted approach on the part superiors or subordinates. Features of Barriers of delegation:
•    over confidence of superior in his/her abilities to perform effectively than their subordinates,
•    Inability of employees to assume additional responsibilities due to fear of committing mistakes and lack of confidence,
•    lack of ability in superiors to identify areas of delegation, etc.
Decentralisation refers to the process of delegating authority to the lowest levels of organisation. Earnest Dale has pointed out four rests to determine the degree of decentralisation that are number of decisions, importance of decisions, effect of decisions and checking for decisions. Advantages of decentralisation:
•    develops initiative among subordinates,
•    develops managerial talent,
•    quick decision making,
•    relief to top management,
•    motivation of subordinates, etc.


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  • Q1

    The process of sharing tasks, narrow in scope, being limited to superior & his subordinates, is



    Delegation is the downward transfer of authority from a superior to a subordinate. It is narrow in scope compared to decentralisation.
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  • Q2

    The transfer of authority from one executive to another is called


    delegation of authority.

    Delegation of authority means sharing of authority with the subordinates.
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  • Q3

    How is accountability related to authority ? Give example.


    Accountability is the obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority while authority is the legitimate right to give orders and get orders obeyed.

    Accountability stands for the obligation of an employee to answer to his superior for the fulfillment of his assigned responsibility as well as authority. It is so because a person is held accountable i.e., answerable to his superior for the fulfillment of his assigned responsibility only if the authority assigned to him also commensurate with his responsibilities. For example, if the purchase manager is assigned the task of purchasing raw materials for the factory and is also given the authority to make the payment for the same then he will be accountable for the failure. He is responsible for ensuring adequate availability of raw materials when required, or to making payments to the suppliers on time. Thus, authority and accountability are inseparable features of the process of delegation of authority.

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  • Q4

    “Delegation of authority is a process involving authority, responsibility and accountability”. Explain the statement.


    Delegation of authority consists of authority, responsibility and accountability as its elements.

    Authority: Authority can be defined as the power and right of a person to use and allocate the resources efficiently, to take decisions and to give orders so as to achieve the organizational objectives. It always flows from top to bottom.

    Responsibility: Responsibilityis the duty of the person to complete the task assigned to him. A person who is given the responsibility should ensure that he accomplishes the tasks assigned to him.

    Accountability:It means answerability for any variance in the actual performance from the expectations set. Accountability can’t be escaped. It arises from responsibility.

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  • Q5

    What are the elements of delegation ?


    Delegation of authority has three inter-related elements. These are assignment of tasks and duties, grant of authority, and creation of responsibility and accountability.

    Assignment of tasks and duties: In the process of delegation, every superior has to define the jobs to be performed by his subordinates. He must also define the results expected. He has further to decide on the allocation of duties to the subordinates.

    Grant of authority : Grant of authority implies giving the right to subordinates to decide and act, to use necessary resources and represent the superior. Every subordinate needs authority to carry out the tasks and perform the duties assigned to him. Managers at all levels derive authority granted by their superior. In turn, each manager confers a part of his authority to his subordinate.
    Creation of responsibility and accountability : Along with the tasks to be performed and grant of authority, the subordinates are entrusted with the responsibility or obligation to carry out the duties assigned. They are also to give an account of the results achieved in terms of the standards of performance laid down. The subordinates’ responsibility to the superior is absolute. It cannot be delegated or shifted. Arising out of his responsibility, the subordinate is accountable or answerable for the performance of his tasks and duties.

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