Delegation means devolution of authority on subordinates to make them to perform the assigned duties or tasks. It is that part of the process of organization by which managers make it possible for others to share the work of accomplishing organizational objectives.

Delegation consists of granting authority or the right to decision-making in certain defined areas and charging the subordinate with responsibility for carrying through the assigned tasks.

Delegation refers to the assignment of work to others and confer them the requisite authority to accomplish the job assigned.

Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Delegation 2. Meaning and Definitions of Delegation 3. Nature and Features 4. Objectives 5. Characteristics 6. Elements 7. Reasons for Failure


8. Principles 9. Process 10. Types 11. Resistance 12. Advantages 13. Misconceptions about Delegation 14. Barriers 15. Considerations.

Delegation: Introduction, Meaning, Characteristics, Elements, Types, Nature, Principles, Advantages, Barriers and Process

Delegation – Introduction

Delegation is necessary for an organisation to exist. Just as no one person in an enterprise can do all the tasks necessary for accomplishing a group purpose, there is a limit to the number of persons managers can effectively supervise and make decisions for. Once this limit has been passed, authority must be delegated to subordinates, who will make decisions within the area of their assigned duties.

It is impossible for any person to execute all the work in an organisation, to achieve the objectives of the organisation. Similarly, in a growing concern also, a single person could not be vested with the entire decision-making authority. So, the superior assigns duties or responsibilities to his subordinates and also delegates necessary authority to them.

Delegation is a skill of which we have all heard – but which few understand. It can be used either as an excuse for dumping failure onto the shoulders of subordinates, or as a dynamic tool for motivating and training your team to realize their full potential.


Delegation is a process which enables a person to assign a work to others and delegate them with adequate authority to do it. Delegation is the dynamics of management.

Delegation normally occurs when one needs something done that one either cannot or chooses not do oneself. The decision may be based on situations, skills, time, established order or the expansion and growth of responsibilities as dictated by the group or the organisation. Managers can delegate responsibility to subordinates in the sense of making subordinates responsible to them.

However, this delegation to subordinates makes managers no less responsible to their superiors. Delegation of responsibility does not mean avoidance of responsibility by the delegating manager. Responsibility is not like an object that can be passed from individual to individual. In truth, delegation is based on the parity principle.

The parity principle states that authority and responsibility must coincide. Management must delegate sufficient authority to enable subordinates to do their jobs. At the same time, subordinates can be expected to accept responsibility only for those areas within their authority.


Subordinates must accept both authority and responsibility before the delegation process is completed. Management sometimes expects employees to seek and assume responsibility they have not been given (or entrusted with) and then bid for the necessary authority. Such a system leads to guessing games that do nothing but create frustration and waste energy.

Delegation – Meaning and Definitions

Delegation means devolution of authority on subordinates to make them to perform the assigned duties or tasks. It is that part of the process of organization by which managers make it possible for others to share the work of accomplishing organizational objectives. Delegation consists of granting authority or the right to decision-making in certain defined areas and charging the subordinate with responsibility for carrying through the assigned tasks.

Delegation refers to the assignment of work to others and confer them the requisite authority to accomplish the job assigned.

1. In the words of F.G. Moore – “Delegation means assigning work to others and gives them authority to do it.”


2. Louis A. Allen has said – “Delegation is the dynamics of management, it is the process a manager follows in dividing the work assigned to him so that he performs that part which only he, because of his unique organizational placement, can perform effectively and so that he can get others to help him with what remains”.

3. E.F.L. Brech has also said – “Delegation is a process of sharing a few or all of the four elements of the management process, i.e., command, planning, coordination and control”. He goes on to say that the delegation is not a question of issuing instructions but is a bringing down of the executive’s responsibility and transmission of part or all of it to other persons.

Since one person constitutes only one man power, so F.G. Moore has once said that – “Delegation, therefore, is necessary for enlarging his capacity by asking trusted subordinates to share his burden.” Without delegation says S.S. Chatterjee, “The very existence of organization is shattered at once. If there are no duties to be divided and no authorities to be shared in the enterprise, the existence of an organization structure is nullified and becomes absurd. Management of that organization becomes impossible without delegation.”

For this reason activities are to be integrated, coordinated and unity of purpose to be achieved, this necessitates effective delegation.

Delegation – Nature and Features

Delegation is an authorization to a subordinate manager to act in a certain manner independently. The delegation of authority is the delivery by one in­dividual to another of the right to act, to make decisions, to utilize resources and to perform other tasks in order to fulfill job responsibilities.


Some of the important features of delegation may be listed thus:

i. Two Sided Relationship:

Delegation is a two sided relationship. The superior must be willing to sacrifice a portion of his authority and the subordinate must be prepared to shoulder additional responsibilities.


ii. Act of Trust:

Delegation is an act of trust, an expression of confidence that the subordinate (delegatee) will discharge assigned duties in a sin­cere way.

iii. Freedom to Think and Act:

Delegation means freedom of action suffi­cient to get the task accomplished. It means freedom to make decisions, commit mistakes, learn and rise to the challenge putting one’s own competencies to best use.


iv. Dependency Relationship:

The delegator has to extend continual support and continued blessings to the delegatee. The delegatee should seek clear communication of what is expected of him, when the job needs to be completed etc. In case of any trouble, the delegator must lend support to the delegatee.

v. A Challenging Task:

Delegation is a challenging task. Both parties must set goals to mutual satisfaction. Questions like when, where and how need to be addressed properly. Both must invest their time, put resources to best use and deliver results through constant interaction, questioning and exchanging of notes. Delegation requires trust and confidence in each other’s traits and abilities. It is a skill that separates the men from the boys in management.

vi. Forward Thinking Principle:

Delegation opens a new in su­perior subordinate relationship. Both the superior and subordinate are expected to enact their roles in a positive and mutually supportive way. The superior should trust the subordinate and give enough room to operate. Likewise, the subordinate should accept the challenges and deliver results. Both must keep their sights on institutional interests and play their roles to the best of their abilities and potential.


Nature of delegation includes:

i. It gives direction to a manager in performing his duties

ii. It has dual characteristics in the sense that though the authority is delegated, it is still retained with the superior

iii. It can be modified even after the action is over

iv. Manager cannot delegate authority which he does not possess

v. It may be specific or general and

vi. It is an art rather than a science.

Delegation – Objectives

The objective of delegation is to get the job done by someone else. Not just the simple tasks of reading instructions and turning a lever, but also the decision making and changes which depend upon new information. With delegation, your staffs have the authority to react to situations without referring back to you.

The purpose of delegating is to enable the delegates to assume increasing responsibility. Apart from its other virtues, delegating is an excellent way of releasing the busy manager’s time for carrying out various performance management activities. Successful delegation of work responsibilities necessarily involves coaching and counseling delegates.

This investment at right time pays-off for itself when managees begin to carry out new responsibilities and free the manager to more effectively manage performance of the group as a whole, undertake new projects, accept greater delegation from her boss, and also attend to self-growth and development.

Rollin Glaser deal at some length with the process of delegating in his ‘How to Get Extraordinary Performance from Ordinary people’. According to him, delegations come from the role description. Managees may be fully responsible for some others where the degree of interdependence is higher.

Delegating is a critical skill for supervisors. Delegating involves working with an employee to establish goals, granting them sufficient authority and responsibility to achieve the goals, often giving them substantial freedom in deciding how the goals will be achieved, remaining available as a resource to help them achieve the goals, assessing their performance (the quality of their effort and attainment of the goals), addressing performance issues and/or rewarding their performance. Ultimately, the supervisor retains responsibility for the attainment of the goals, but chooses to achieve the goals by delegating to someone else.

Delegation can sometimes be a major challenge for new supervisors to learn because they are concerned about giving up control or struggle to have confidence in the abilities of others. Supervisors that can effectively delegate can free up a great deal of their own time, help their direct reports to cultivate expertise in learning , and can develop their own leadership skills- skills that are critical for problem solving, goal attainment and learning.

A general problem in delegation arises from a misfit between the readiness of the managee to perform at a certain level and the allocation of task(s) to him. Sometimes the manager may delegate too much responsibility before a managee is prepared to handle it. In the other way, delegation is too little compared to the managee’s readiness to perform the task without supervision; the resultant may be managee’s de-motivation, alienation, a feeling of restiveness, or a perception of inequity.

The trick in effective delegation, therefore, is achieving optimum fit between the managee’s willingness and ability to perform. In addition standards and criteria for the level of delegation used by the manager must be explicit and transparent, and seen as equitably applied to all managees and tasks. It pays to share these standards or criteria, and invite managees to seek clarifications.

A managee’s readiness to perform any given task is explained better by situational leadership model. The leader uses a leadership style appropriate to the managee’s developmental level-defined in terms of managee competence and commitment to perform a specific task. A high degree of delegation occurs when the managee competence and commitment are at a level that he neither needs task direction nor relationship support.

Delegation – Top 8 Characteristics

The important characteristics of delegation are as follows:

(1) Delegation of Authority:

Delegation is an authority to a manager to act in a certain manner. The degree of delegation defines the limit within which a sub­ordinate manager has to decide the things. Being formal authority organisation at top level, it is distributed delegation or re-delegation.

(2) Person Delegating Holds Authority:

A sub-ordinate staff receives authority from his superior but the superior still holds his original authority. According to Terry—”It is something like importing knowledge. You share with others who then possess the knowledge but you still retain the knowledge too.”

(3) Delegated Authority Can be Enhanced, Reduced or Withdrawn:

This may happen at any time depending upon the situation and requirement. For example—Change in policy, procedure or method etc. may bring a change in the degree of delegation of authority.

(4) No Delegation Without Authority:

A manager cannot delegate authority which he himself does not possess or what is vested to him. Roman proverb is there “Delegatus Non-Delegare.”

(5) There Cannot be Total Delegation:

A manager cannot delegate the entire authority vested in him because if he delegates all his authority, he is no more required. Therefore, only a part of the authority is delegated.

(6) Delegation May be General or Specific:

Delegation is called specific when courses of action for particular objectives are specified. It is general when these are not specified. Though objectives may be specified, delegation may also be formal or informal, written or implied.

(7) Authority to Delegate Depends upon Several Factors:

These factors are the ability of the executive to delegate, the ability of the sub-ordinate to accept delegation, the philosophy of management, the confidence of the superior in the sub-ordinate etc.

(8) No Escape from Responsibility:

No manager can escape from his obligation by delegating authority to subordinates. Therefore, he has to provide a means to check whether the work assigned to the sub-ordinate has been done as he wishes.

Delegation – Elements

The following are the three elements of delegation:

1. Assignment of Duties or Responsibilities:

This work is being done only at the time, when a superior has no time to accomplish all the work. The superior automatically assigns the work of responsibility to his immediate subordinate.

2. Delegation of Authority:

If the work is assigned to any subordinate, there will be a need for authority to accomplish it.

After the delegation of authority, the subordinate can get power to accomplish the tasks in a specified time and in order.

3. Accountability:

Accountability means that the subordinate is answerable to his immediate .senior. If there is any mistake or fault committed by the subordinate, the subordinate should accept responsibility for it. In some cases, the superior (one who delegates authority) is answerable to the management but not the subordinate (to whom authority is delegated)

Splintered Authority:

Splintered authority exists wherever a problem cannot be solved or a decision made without pooling the authority of two or more managers. For example, the superintendent of plant A may see an opportunity to reduce costs through a minor modification in his procedures and those in plant B,’ but his authority cannot encompass the change.

But if the superintendents of the two plants can agree on the change (and if it affects no other managers), all they need to do is pool their authority and make the decision. Individually, their authority is said to be “splintered”. In day-to-day operations of any company, there are many cases of splintered authority. Many managerial conferences are held because of the necessity of pooling authority to make a decision.

Delegation – 5 Main Reasons for Failure

Most failures in effective delegation occur not because managers do not understand the nature and principles of delegation but because they are unable or unwilling to apply them.

Much of the reason is as follows:

i. Personal Attitudes toward Delegation:


Decision making always involves some discretion, and a subordinate’s decision is not likely to be exactly the one a superior would have made. The manager who knows how to delegate must be able not only to welcome the ideas of others but also to help others and to compliment them on their ingenuity.

ii. Willingness to Let Go:

A manager who will effectively delegate authority must be willing to release the right to make decisions to subordinates. Corporate presidents and vice-presidents who insist on confirming every purchase or approving the appointment of every laborer do not realize that doing so takes their time and attention away from far more important decisions.

Managers should realize that there is a “law of comparative managerial advantage”, like the law of comparative economic advantage. The law of comparative economic advantage states that a country’s wealth will be enhanced if it exports what it produces most efficiently and imports what it produces least efficiently, even though it could produce the imported goods more cheaply than any other nation.

Likewise, managers will enhance their contributions to the firm if they concentrate on tasks that contribute most to the firms’s objectives and assign to subordinates other tasks.

iii. Willingness to let others Make Mistakes:

Since everyone makes mistakes, a subordinate must be allowed to make some, and their cost must be considered as an investment in personal development.

Serious or repeated mistakes can be largely avoided without nullifying delegation or hindering the development of a subordinate. Patient counseling, asking leading or discerning questions, and carefully explaining the objectives and policies are some of the methods available to the manager who would delegate well.

iv. Willingness to Trust Subordinates:

Superiors have no alternative to trusting their subordinates, for delegation implies a trustful attitude between them. A superior mas- put off delegation with the thought that subordinates are not yet experienced enough, they cannot handle people, or they have not yet developed judgment.

Sometimes these considerations are true, but then a superior should either train subordinates or else select others who are prepared to assume the responsibility. Too often, bosses distrust their subordinates because they do not wish to let go and threatened by subordinates’ successes.

v. Willingness to Establish and Use Broad Controls:

Since superiors cannot delegate responsibility for performance, they should not delegate authority unless they are willing to find means of getting feedback, that is, of assuring themselves that the authority is being used to support enterprise or department goals and plans. Obviously, controls cannot be established and exercised unless goals, policies, and plans are used as basic standards for judging the activities of subordinates.

Delegation – Top 7 Principles

The delegation is an art. It can be made effective by adhering to the principles of delegation. These principles serve as broad guidelines to the managers who want to delegate their authority to their subordinates.

The principles of the delegation are as under:

Principle # (i) Principle of Functional Definitions:

According to Koontz and O’Donnell, “more a position, or a department has clear definitions of results expected, activities to be under taken, organisation authority delegated, and authority and informational relationship with other positions understood, the more adequately the individuals responsible can contribute towards accomplishing organisation objectives.” The subordinate must fully understand the nature and significance of his job, its relationship with other jobs and the limits of his authority.

Principle # (ii) Principle of Delegation by Results Expected:

The nature and extent of delegation should be consistent with the results expected by subordinates. There-fore it is responsibility of superior to make the results and objects clear to his subordinates and the subordinates will do only the needful activities which may contribute to the attainment of prerecorded objectives. It will make the delegation more successful and effective.

For example, if the sales manager lays down the target of achieving sales turnover of 5 Lakh, rupees for U.P. office, he should delegate adequate authority to the Branch Manager of U.P. office.

Principle # (iii) Principle of Authority and Responsibility:

Authority and responsibility should bear logical relation to each other. Therefore a proper balance must be maintained between authority and responsibility during delegating the duties. There should be not disparity between the authority granted to a subordinate and the responsibility imposed on him.

For instance if a manager tries to hold subordinates accountable for duties for which they do not have the requisite authority, it will be unfair. It is also not proper if the subordinates are given sufficient authority, but are not held accountable for its proper use.

Principle # (iv) Principle of Absoluteness of Responsibility:

According to this principle only the authority can be delegated and not the responsibility. If executive can delegates his authorities to his subordinates, his responsibility and accountability do not change. Only executive is responsible and not his subordinates. For example, if branch decides to active sales turnover two lakh rupees, only branch manager is answerable to the sales manager.

Principle # (v) Principle of Unity of Command:

Every subordinate should be under the command by one superiors. He must get the orders only from one officer. If a person reports to two superiors for the same duty, confusion and friction will result. Therefore as for as possible, dual subordination should be avoided. Thus the process of delegation can be effective and successful only if the above principle is followed.

Principle # (vi) Principle of Scalar:

The chain of command from the top to bottom of the organisational hierarchy should be such that every subordinates knows who has delegated authority to him and to whom matters beyond his authority must be referred too,. The limits of authority within which subordinates can exercise initiative should be clarified.

Principle # (vii) Principle of Authority Level:

The subordinates should refer only those decisions to the superior which cannot be made at their level. They should themselves handle matters falling within the scope of their authority, if they try to bring every matters for decision to the superior, the purpose of delegation will be defeated. The superior should not unnecessary interfere in the decisions and actions of the subordinates.

Delegation Process (With 5 Steps)

In the process of delegation the following steps are essential and they must be kept in mind:

(1) The Delegation Should Define the Result Expected from his Subordinates:

The first requirement in the determination of contribution is the stage of creating various positions in the organisation.

(2) Duties Should be Assigned According to the Qualifications, Experience and Aptitude of the Subordinates:

Duties must be defined very clearly.

They may be described in two ways:

(a) In terms of activities to be performed by a sub-ordinate.

(b) In terms of results that are expected from the performance of activities.

For Example – How much sale is to be achieved by salesman? It is better to assign duties in terms of results expected, because the sub-ordinate knows in advance the terms in which his performance will be judged, while assessing duties and responsibilities.

The delegator must ensure that subordinates understand and accept the assignment; otherwise delegation would be meaningless or ineffective.

(3) Adequate Authority Must be Given to Subordinates:

The authority to be delegated to each particular sub-ordinate be determined in advance. The delegator confers upon the sub-ordinate the right to act in a specified way within limited boundaries. It decides what actions he may take and what action he cannot take. Proper authority to any sub-ordinate not given in time, will not give or produce expected results.

For Example – A sales manager, charged with the responsibility of increasing sales of company’s product should be given authority to hire competent salesmen, pay wages and incentives, allow concessions, within specified limits.

(4) The Sub-Ordinate Must Produce Expected Results from the Task Assigned to him:

It is obligatory on the part of the sub-ordinate that he must give satisfactory performance from the tasks assigned. He becomes answerable for the proper performance of the assigned duties and for the exercise of the delegated authority. Authority without accountability is likely to be misused.

Accountability without authority may be frustrating to the subordinates. The extent of accountability depends upon the extent of delegated authority and responsibility. A sub-ordinate cannot be held responsible for acts not assigned to him by his superior. He is accountable only to his immediate superior.

(5) Proper Evaluation of the Performance Must be Made:

In the end, an information and control system must be established to check and evaluate the performance of the subordinates to whom authority has been delegated. Duties, authority and responsibility are the three interdependent essential steps in the process of delegation. In this connection an eminent authority. H. W. Newman has said—”These three inevitable attributes of delegation are like a three legged stool, each depends on the others to support the whole and no two can stand alone.”

The basic steps involved in the process of delegation are as follows:

(i) Assignment of duties – A manager defines the task to be performed by the subordinates. He then divides the work among the subordinates. The results expected by the subordinates are also clearly defined. Every subordinate must clearly understand the scope of his work.

(ii) Granting authority – After assigning the tasks, the manager gives the necessary authority to the subordinates. Subordinates are authorised to use the resources and to take decisions necessary for the performance of those tasks. Authority given to the subordinates should be consistent with the responsibilities, clearly specifying the limits of authority to the subordinates.

(iii) Creation of accountability – The last step in delegation is the creation of obligation on the part of the subordinates and to hold the subordinates accountable for the performance of the assigned tasks. The subordinates are required to render a report of their performance to the superior. Authority responsibility and accountability are three important elements in the process of delegation.

Delegation – Types

Formal, Informal, General and Specific Delegation.

It is customary in management literature to distinguish between:

(a) Formal and informal delegation; and

(b) General and specific delegation.

As concepts the groupings have some merits; in practice, they overlap, as they are bound to do, the structural and human dynamics being what they are.

In a formal delegation, the delegated assignments and the accompanying authority for each delegate are spelt out, on a piece of paper. In the informal type, the delegation goes by a climate of understanding between the superior and the subordinate. As a crude analogy, in a household, the husband knows what is expected of him, so does, perhaps the housewife without so much as a charter of distribution of tasks and authority.

Whether a delegation is formal or informal, it ought to be clear. A lack of clarity as to who will do (and decide) what and who wields what authority – is a breeding ground of confusion. Confusion denudes management efficiency through consequential delays, inaction, wasteful file- shuttling and misunderstanding.

It is the merit of a formal delegation that it makes for clarity. It is all spelt out there, for all to see; it is circulated; everybody knows who is what, what he must do and achieve and what authority possesses. It clears operations of doubts and ambiguities.

A comment is often made that a formal delegation is rigid. It hamstrings initiative, curbs talents, stunts vitality, erodes adaptability to change. Even if these were true, and the alternative was uncertainty, confusion, they are better tolerated. But the fears of inflexibility in a formal delegation, and the consequences that are postulated, need not be true.

The delegation charter is the body of outline in a field of sports which helps discipline and adherence to the rules of the game. Provided the supervisor-subordinate relations are warm and healthy, no manager need suffer inhibition in the full play of his talents and initiative merely because he is known to possess certain well-defined tasks and authority.

Delegation can also be general or specific. It is said to be general when the task is broadly set, leaving it to the delegate how he would work out the details. A sales manager, who is given charge of a sales territory with broad targets and authority, without being told in so many words as to how he should go about it, has a general delegation.

A general delegation would perhaps remove some of the inflexibility claimed against a formal delegation but could add some of the uncertainties of an informal delegation in the field of operation of the delegated task. These contradictions have to be carefully balanced in framing a charter of general delegation.

Delegation – Reasons for a Manager’s Resistance to Delegating Authority

A manager’s resistance to delegating authority is natural.

There are several reasons for the reluctance:

1. Fear that subordinates will fail to do the task.

2. The belief that it is easier to do the task oneself rather than delegate it.

3. Fear that subordinates will look “too good” and do it better than the manager.

4. Humans’ attraction to power.

5. Comfort in doing the tasks of the previous job held.

In spite all these reasons for not delegating, there are some very strong reasons for a manager to delegate. Various things occur when a manager successfully delegates.

Delegation – Top 7 Advantages

i. Delegation of authority is the key to organisation. Without delegation there would be no organisation only one- man operations.

ii. Delegation permits you to concentrate on your real profession, viz., and management.

iii. It gives time to plan, motivate and control.

iv. It helps your subordinates to show initiative and develop themselves on the job. It is a good method of motivation of subordinates.

v. It offers you as well as your subordinate’s additional peace of mind.

vi. It is a magic way to accomplish more with less worry and tension, and with less risk to health through being one-man operation.

vii. It promotes management development training and builds up a good reservoir of executive skill and talents, because it creates managers and not merely messengers.

Delegation – Misconceptions

In order to remove some common misconceptions about delegation, it is necessary to state what is not a part of delegation:

(i) Delegation is not Abdication:

It is not simply, a matter of giving someone a job to do and telling him to go ahead and do it. The delegator must provide necessary support, coaching and help to delegate during the performance period. Delegation may be ineffective if only routine or meaningless activities are delegated.

(ii) Delegation is not Abandonment:

The delegator establish certain limits within which the subordinates are expected to work on the assigned duties. The delegates are expected to exercise their discretion and judgment within limits. The basic purpose of policies and procedures must be to facilitate accomplishment of results, not hinder them. In order to delegate effectively managers must establish a supportive climate which allows the subordinates to achieve results.

(iii) Delegation does not Mean that the Manager Loses Control and Power:

The delegation does not lead to dilution of authority and power. It is actually enhancement of power. A manager is able to save his time for concentrating on important projects by delegating authority. In actual proactive, delegation occurs only when various check points in operation are established based on manager’s knowledge and experience.

(iv) Delegation does not Mean Avoiding Decisions:

Through delegation, a manager decides on important matters and allows subordinates to make those which are best made at the point of direct contact. “In the process of doing this the manager avoids day-to-day detail, take maximum advantage of people’s talents and their closer proximity to the situation and gives them greater support”.

Delegation – Barriers to Delegation (With Measures)

Delegation appears to be a simple process, but in practice, many difficulties come in the way of effective delegation.

These difficulties may be grouped into three categories which are discussed below:

1. On the Part of the Superior:

Managerial failure in delegation may result because of the following limitations:

(i) Resistance – A manger may think that he can do the job better himself and so he will be reluctant to delegate authority. “I can do it better myself” fallacy obstructs delegation of authority. Such executives often oppose the idea of sharing authority with the others.

(ii) Lack of ability to plan and direct – Lack of ability of the manager to correctly plan and issue suitable instructions in guiding the subordinates, though he is willing to delegate, creates hurdles in the way of effective delegation.

(iii) Lack of willingness to let go – The desire of dominance over the work of subordinates at each step hampers the delegation. Moreover, a manager may be afraid that if he lets the subordinate make decisions, he may outshine him.

(iv) Lack of willingness to trust subordinates – Delegation implies a trustful attitude between the superior and the subordinate. Lack of confidence in the capacity, ability and dependability of the subordinate obstructs the superior to delegate authority. Since a manager lacks confidence in the subordinate, he will not delegate authority to give him any chance to make mistakes and learn how to take correct decisions.

(v) Lack of controls – While delegating authority, the superior must find means of assuring himself that the authority is being used to accomplish the given assignments. Where the manager does not set up adequate controls or has no means of knowing the use of authority, he may hesitate to delegate the authority.

2. On the Part of the Subordinates:

The subordinates may avoid shouldering responsibilities even though there is no fault of the part of the superior.

They may be reluctant to accept authority because of the following reasons:

(i) Subordinates may lack self-confidence because of incompetence or fear of failure.

(ii) Subordinates may fear criticism or may have been victims of undue criticism for committing mistakes in the past.

(iii) Some people prefer to depend upon the boss for decision making.

(iv) Subordinates may be unwilling to accept delegation where required information and facilities are not available or when effective communication is lacking.

(v) There may not be sufficient incentives for accepting additional responsibility.

(vi) Subordinates will not accept delegation when they are already over-worked or when they feel that delegation will merely increase burden on them.

3. On the Part of the Organisation:

The faults contributing to the weakness of delegation in practice may also lie with the organisation.

They may include the following:

(i) Defective organisation structure and non-clarity of authority responsibility relationships.

(ii) Inadequate planning.

(iii) Splintered authority.

(iv) Infringement of the principle of unity of command.

(v) Lack of effective control.

Overcoming the Barriers:

Several of the barriers to delegation mostly relate to the behavioural aspects of individuals. Insecurity, aversion to risk, lack of self-confidence, inability to trust- another to perform a task are all different dimensions of human behavior. Among the various barriers, psychological barriers are the most difficult ones to overcome. To overcome many of these barriers, both superiors and subordinates must take a hard look at them, recognize their own fears and try to come out of the inhibitions.

The following measures may help delegation to be effective:

I. Establishment of definite goals

II. Effective Communication

III. Parity of Authority and Responsibility

IV. Incentives for additional responsibility

V. Effective training

VI. Proper motivation

VII. Conducive organizational climate

VIII. Appropriate control techniques

Delegation – Considerations to Achieve Better Delegation

Delegation is aimed at improving overall effectiveness of organizational functioning. Considering the importance of effective delegation, the measure should be adopted to overcome the barriers and making delegation effective.

In order to achieve better delegation, consideration should be given to the following aspects:

1. Clearly Defined Authority and Responsibility – The authority and responsibility of managers should be clearly defined. Clearly defined authority and responsibility enables a manager to know what exactly is expected of him and the limits of his authority.

2. Improved Communication – Improved communication between managers and subordinates will increase mutual understanding and these help to make delegation more effective. Lines of communication must be kept open from superior to subordinate and vice versa. Sound communication makes delegation effective.

3. Establish Objectives – Delegation is a source of achievement of organizational goals. Objectives must be clearly defined for meaningful delegation. Assignments should be clearly defined in terms of goals or results expected. The subordinate is given adequate freedom to do assigned work. The limits should be clearly explained.

4. Appropriate Selection of Personnel – The delegates should be selected in the light of the job to be done. The nature of work and personality factors should be judged. The persons selected must also give appropriate and necessary training to accept assignments and authority.

5. Appropriate Environment – A work climate, free from fear and frustration, should be established. The managers may feel that they are working in conducive and permissible environment. Management should provide support to effective delegation.

6. Security of Job – A manager may fail to delegate because of feeling of insecurity in his job. This fear should be avoided by impressing the delegate his possible contributions to group efforts. Security of job should be assured by management to make delegation effective.

7. Proper Control Techniques – Proper control techniques should be developed to ascertain that authority is being used properly. Control techniques should be broad based and should focus attention on significant deviations from plans.

8. Proper Motivation – Incentives should be provided for the excellent performance of superior’s and subordinates. Motivation is considered as a moving force in delegation and it becomes effective only if subordinates perform assigned work enthusiastically.

9. Adherence to the Principles of Delegation – Strict adherence to the principles of delegation like parity of authority and responsibility, unity of command and absoluteness of accountability are most essential for effective delegation.