Authority and Responsibility
Delegation of Authority
Delegation is the method by which power is transferred from one managerial level to another. As organizations grow in size and complexity, no one person can perform all the tasks or exercise all the authority needed to accomplish goals.
Division of work and delegation of authority are two different concepts. The greatest approach to utilize both individuals and groups of people is to divide the task up, according to Henry Fayol, who also notes that it allows for a reduction in the number of things that require focus and effort.
When a superior gives his subordinate decision-making responsibility, this is known as a delegation of authority. No one can delegate an authority that he does not have.
One of the most crucial abilities a manager must have is delegation. The managers who are overworked are frequently those that are unable to delegate because they lack the capacity to achieve outcomes through others. A person can only complete a certain amount of work by himself in a day. However, he can accomplish much more through delegation—by sharing his workload and responsibilities with others. No manager and no organization can run smoothly and effectively without delegation.
Elements of Delegation
The number of delegations marks the effectiveness of the manager and influences the relationship between the superior and the subordinate.
Delegation is the process where a manager divides the work assigned to him to get help from others in accomplishing the same. It entails the following four indivisible steps:
- the determination of results expected
- the assignment of tasks
- the transfer of power necessary to carry out these responsibilities
- the exaction of responsibility for their accomplishment
These four steps can be broken down into three components: responsibility, authority, and accountability. Delegation is the process of giving someone else power and responsibility while establishing accountability for results. Let’s quickly review these three elements.
The actions necessary to complete the work at hand are referred to as being responsible. Responsibility can be delegated.
Authority refers to the powers and rights entrusted to enable the performance of the task assigned or delegated. To carry out a certain responsibility, you must have a certain level of power. People in organizations typically acquire their power from two sources: Personal and Positional. Position authority includes the ability to make decisions and administer rewards and punishments. Personal authority describes the expertise and particular traits that make up a manager’s personality. Personal authority cannot be assigned, only position authority. The authority could be formal or informal. Here, we’re talking about formal authority that is transparent, organized, and shared with everyone.
Accountability is the duty to exert authority and carry out the responsibility by accepted standards or norms. Accountability for and reporting on the use of power or the exercise of responsibility are requirements. Responsibility cannot be passed down. The individual who delegated remains accountable to his superior for all he did.
Since accountability cannot be transferred, superiors are solely responsible for the actions of their subordinates. Likewise, we can see that the delegatee is responsible to the delegator to the extent that he has been given authority and responsibility. For instance, line supervisors cannot be held responsible for the operators’ competence if they are not given the duty to train them.
In a hierarchy, accountability always moves up, but responsibility and authority always move down. For delegated responsibility and authority, a person can only be answerable to one superior. Establishing accountability is simple if the benchmarks and performance metrics are predetermined.
So far we have discussed formal delegation in the exercise of authority defined by organizational role. Formal delegation is effective to the extent of acceptance and respect for formal authority.
Informal delegation happens when someone wants to do something rather than when they are directed to. Red tape is reduced. It’s something that isn’t ostensibly necessary to do. Informal delegation might be useful when exercising formal authority encounters difficulties.
Delegation occurs to the extent that the subordinate is willing to follow instructions, not to the extent that is delegated. It may be possible to enforce willingness to do the job itself, but not to comply with the standards of performance established by the supervisor. Workers accept this kind of informal delegation in huge organizations where informal group leaders with no formal power assume responsibility for limiting productivity. The people in the group will bring down production to the level they consider fair rather than comply with the orders of their superiors.
Indirect Delegation Few occupations are independent in modern organizations, and cooperation may lead to members of a group formally delegating their power and responsibility to others in the group at their level. Lateral delegation is the process of entrustment that takes place as teamwork between group members grows.