Delegation of authority

Delegation means entrusting one’s authority to another, usually a subordinate, for facilitating the work of the organization. The person to whom authority is delegated is usually an immediate subordinate and is answerable for the use of the delegated powers to the delegator. It’s a kind of temporary transfer of general routine work for enabling the higher authority to attend to other important work.

The essence of delegation is to confer upon others the opportunities to use their judgement in meeting specific problems by remaining within framework of their duties.

Following are some characteristics of delegation of power:

(i)      It can only be exercised by the higher authority.
(ii)     It doesn’t, at all, mean transfer of final authority.
(iii)     It does not involve surrendering of power.
(iv)     Delegated powers can be revoked at any time.
(v)      It may be full or partial.
(vi)     It may be conditional as well as unconditional.
(vii)     It may be formal and informal; direct or intermediate.

Delegation process may also be considered in the light of restrictions it faces, like:

(a) The caliber and personality of the person to whom authority is being delegated.

(b) The laws, constitution and other circumstances also limit delegation of authority beyond a certain limit which  depending on the size and nature of organization.

(c) When an organization is in the process of establishment, it may not be considered appropriate to delegate authority unnecessarily.

(d) In the present-day world, the system of communication has tremendously improved even in that case the delegation may be considered suitable keeping in view time taken to reach upon a decision.

In public sector, the area of delegation of authority is one of the crucial parts of the debate as delegation of authority is resorted to not keeping in mind the requirements of the work of the organization but the person to whom the authority is being delegated. Only one aspect is considered; resultantly, no significant improvement in efficiency of the organization is witnessed. The delegation brings certain merits with it to enhance its efficacy:-

(a) It saves time or helps avoid wastage of time by assigning routine work to juniors so that more important work may find focused attention by the seniors.

(b) In a way, it develops the managerial skills of the juniors and imbibes in them the sense of responsibility.

(c) The effective delegation sees the overall results and their relevance with the objectives of the organization. The skilled delegator sees how the assigned duties are being performed and in that process he teaches, trains and creates a sense of confidence in his juniors or, in other words, produces the future top men of the organization.

(d) When an officer/manager feels himself overburdened, he swiftly shifts the routine work to those who can do the job effectively in the allotted time. In this way, he is actually rationalizing the work of the organization and consequently avoids over work.

(e) Sometimes an abler subordinate remains hidden from the eyes of the management; not because of his poor selection but because he was not considered much trusted and responsible. The delegation of authority not only helps in finding such people but also promotes a sense of responsibility in them.

There are no two opinions in delegation of authority as it avoids wastage of time and brings rapidity in decision-making, particularly at local level. Economy, efficiency and morale are the basics of delegation of authority.  In organizations where filed assignments are numerous, it is considered a must. But, without overall supervision, it may turn into self-serving discretionary powers.

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