Delegation of Authority - Elements and Importance

Delegation of authority refers to the transfer of authority from the level of supervisor to the level of subordinates. In other words, delegation is the downward transfer of authority from the manager to the subordinate.

Delegation of authority is important as the superior in an organisation is not able to manage all the work by himself. Delegation of authority helps the managers to focus on more important functions of the organisation that need to be taken care of on priority.

Delegation is the transfer of responsibility which is less important and can be performed by the subordinates. This also brings a sense of responsibility to the work done by the subordinates and paves the way for growth of the subordinates.

Transfer of authority to subordinates does not mean that the subordinate is accountable for the actions, it is the superior who will be accountable for all the actions. Only tasks that can be completed effectively by the subordinates are delegated without the actual transfer of accountability.

Elements of Delegation

Delegation consists of the following elements.

1. Authority

2. Responsibility

3. Accountability

Let us discuss all these elements one by one.

Authority: One of the essential elements of delegation is authority which is the power to complete an assigned task. Without authority a subordinate is unable to execute the task perfectly. In order to complete the task as is expected by the manager, the manager has to provide authority of executing that task to the subordinate.

Responsibility: Responsibility is another element of delegation which is assigning the subordinate a task that needs to be executed. When the superior assigns any task to the subordinate it becomes the obligation of the subordinate to perform that task with responsibility.

The feeling of responsibility arises from the superior subordinate relationship where a subordinate is obliged to perform the job as assigned by the superior.

Accountability: Accountability element of delegation refers to the answerability of a subordinate to his superior for the job or task that is assigned. Accountability flows in an upward direction, which means the subordinate is accountable to the superior.

Although the subordinate is accountable to the superior, the actual accountability of that task and its outcome rests with the superior as accountability is not transferred to the subordinate, it is just imposed till the time the task is completed.

Importance of Delegation

Delegation is important in an organisation due to the following reasons

1. Delegation of authority allows more time for managers to concentrate on the tasks that are of higher importance for the organisation. Also, delegation allows for changing of the routine work which brings a sense of freedom.

2. When authority is delegated by a superior to a subordinate, the subordinate gets to learn new work which helps in the growth of the employee and provides an opportunity to develop new skills that can improve the chances of promotion.

3.When superiors delegate any function to the subordinates, it motivates the subordinates as they feel trusted and appreciated in the organisation. The direct benefit of this is improvement in employee morale and productivity.

This concludes the topic of Delegation – Elements and Importance, which is an important topic of Business Studies for Commerce students. For more such interesting articles, stay tuned to BYJU’S.

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