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Nature of Delegation

What is delegation ?

Delegation occurs when some people ask others to perform tasks on


their behalf .e.g. most of us delegate to grocers the task of acquiring
various foods ,the doctor of treating others .
In this way it helps us to overcome personal limitations because each
of us has limited time ,energy and talents. Thus it increases the
numbers of tasks that can be accomplished .

Delegation is also called deputation in the


assignment of authority and responsibility to
another person.
or
Delegation is the authority delegated when a
superior gives a subordinate discretion to
make decisions .

Kinds of delegation
There are three kinds of delegation

Downward delegation.
Upward delegation.
Sidewise delegation .

Principles of delegation

Delegation by results expected.


Functional delegation .
Scalar principle .
Absoluteness of responsibility.
Parity of authority and responsibility.
Unity of command .
Clarification of the limits of authority .

Delegation of authority and


responsibility

Authority and responsibility must be


delegated through out a firm to promote
efficiencies of an organizational structure.
Delegation of authority is necessary
whenever a manager must rely on another
to help accomplish an objective.

Prerequisites of successful delegation

Scalar principle (the clearer the line of


authority the clearer will be the responsibility
for decision making and the more effective
will be organizational communication)
The relationship in which a superior
exercises direct supervision over his
subordinates.

What does delegation involve ?

1.
2.
3.

4.

The process of delegation involves


Determining the results expected from a
person .
Assigning tasks to the position .
Delegating authority for accomplishing
these tasks .
Holding the person in that position
responsible and accountable for the
accomplishment of these tasks.

Dual characteristic of delegation

As a result of delegation the subordinate


receives authority from the superior but at
the same time the superior retains all original
authority. Therefore authority and
responsibility can be delegated by a
manager, they can never be abdicated .

Delegation as an art

Delegation is in away , the act of managing .


And this act involves personal attitudes
towards delegation .

Now what are personal attitudes

Personal attitude is a hypothetical construct


that represents an individuals like or dislikes
for an item .And mostly they are formed
through experience .

Some key personal attitudes

Receptiveness(listening to and giving other peoples


ideas a chance )
Law of comparative managerial advantage
(concentration on tasks that contribute most to the
firms goals )
Willingness to allow mistakes (certain degree of
freedom to commit mistakes should be taken as an
investment in personal development.
Trusting subordinates(trustful attitude between the
subordinates and seniors.

What to delegate

Tasks in which your staff have more


experience must be delegated to them .
you should distribute the more mundane
tasks as evenly as possible; and sprinkle the
more exciting ones as widely.

How to delegate

You must enable access to the necessary


knowledge.
Decide the reporting schedule at the onset
The key is to delegate gradually .
Each task delegated should have enough
complexity to stretch that member of staff - but only a
little.
You must enable access to the necessary
knowledge.

When you do talk to Jimmy about the project,


you should avoid making decisions of which
Jimmy is capable himself.
To formalize the manner in which these
conversation take place. One formalism is to
allow only fixed, regular encounters (except
for emergencies) so that Jimmy has to think
about issues and questions before raising .
His recommendation

Outcomes and Failure

When you delegate a task, agree then upon


the criteria and standards by which the
outcome will be judged.
You must enable failure.
The most desirable outcome is that Jimmy
provides the solution.
Avoid general attacks.

Negotiation

You must negotiate with your staff: only by


obtaining both their input and their
agreement can you hope to arrive at a
workable procedure.

Why managers dont delegate

Tendency to do things personally.


Attachment with previous responsibilities.
Fear of being exposed.
Belief in indispensable person theory.
Desire to dominate.
Unwillingness to accept risks.
Attitude that the subordinate is incapable of using the authority
properly.
Lack of proper planning and organizing.
Lack of proper communication ,coordination and control
systems.
Lack of availability of competent subordinates.

Why subordinates dont accept


delegation

Perpetual dependence on superiors .


Lack of self confidence .
Lack of positive incentives.

Why must a manager delegate

A manager must delegate because of the


following reasons.
There is always a limit to personal capacities.
Delegating is a cardinal step in in developing
subordinates.
The need for organizational depth .

Getting managers to delegate

Make the delegator feel secure .


Realize the need for and belief in in delegation.
Establish a fear and frustration free work environment.
Tie in with intelligent planning .
Keeping a hand in duties delegated.
Determine what to delegate and provide adequate authority.
Choose the dalegatee wisely .
Give assistance to the delegatee.
Reward effective delegation and successful assumption of
authority.

Centralization of authority

Centralization of authority means retention or


concentration of management authority in a
relatively few key managerial positions at the
nerve centre of the organizational structure.

An organization in which power and


decision-making authority are
concentrated or centralized in the
hands of a small number of senior
managers and only limited authority
and power is delegated to
subordinates. (Westburn publishers)

Different kinds of centralization

Centralization of performance .
Departmental centralization.
Centralization of managements.

When do organizations tend to be


centralized ?

The size of the organization is small.


Business activities are concentrated at a
single point .
Top managers are of dominating nature .
Environment is stable .
When the stage of business is initial .

Features of centralized organizations

Little delegation of authority.


Top management assumes most of the
power and responsibility .
Close supervision and control on every
aspect of managerial functioning by top
managers .

Advantages of centralization

Uniformity of actions .
Coordination and integration of
organizational efforts which leads to focus on
overall organizational perspectives .
Quick decisions (particularly in time of
emergency ).
Economic.
Powerful top management.

Limitations of centralization

Overburdened top management .


Delayed and unsound decisions .
Abuse of authority. ( power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely.)
Rigidity of organization.
Unsuitable for growing and complex
organizations.

Decentralization

The tendency to disperse decision making authority


in an organized structure .
It is the fundamental aspect of delegation to the
extent that the authority to be delegated is
decentralized .
According to Koontz and ODonnell- decentralization
is the systematic effort to delegate to the lowest
levels all authority except that can be exercised at a
central point.

Salient features of decentralization

A relative concept- it is only the proportion


between the reservation of authority and
delegation of authority by the top
management which determines the extent of
decentralization .
Pushing down decision making power.
Democratic and participative.

Factors determining degree of


decentralization

Significance of a decision.
Desire for uniformity.
Size of the business unit .
Decentralization for performance .
Business dynamics .
History of the enterprise.
Desire for independence.
Availability of competent managers .
Efficacy of control techniques .
Nature of top management .
Environmental influence

Decentralization as a philosophy and


policy

Decentralization implies more than


delegation .It reflects the philosophy of the
organization and management .It requires
careful selection of the decision to push
down the organization structure and which to
hold near the top, specific policy making to
guide the decision making ,proper selection
and training of people and adequate controls.

Advantages of decentralization

Relieves top management .


Encourages decision making and assumption of authority and
responsibility
Gives more freedom in decision making(uses broad controls that may
increase motivation ).
Makes the comparison of different organizational units possible.
Facilitates setting up of profit centers .
Facilitates product diversification .
Promotes the development of managers .
Aids adaptation of fast changing environment.
Increases the feeling of involvement and belongingness to the
organization .
Increases cooperative management and forms participative
management teams.

Limitations of decentralization

Makes uniform policy making more difficult.


Increases the complexity of coordination of the decentralized
organizational units .
Results in loss of power of the upper level managers .
Limited by inadequate control techniques .
Constrained by planning and control system.
Limited by lack of qualified managers .
Involves considerable expenses for training managers .
Limited by external forces .
May not be favored by economies of scale of some operations .

Centralization and decentralization as


tendencies

complete centralization
(no organization structure)

complete decentralization
(no organization structure)

Recentralization

Recentralization means centralization of


authority that was once decentralized.
Normally it is not a complete reversal of
decentralization.

Delegation and decentralization

When delegation is systematically practised in all departments and at


all levels , it results in a decentralized structure. delegation is thus a
means to decentralization.

According to Koontz ,O Donnel and Weihrich Decentralization reflects


a philosophy of organizing and managingindeed a policy of
decentralization affects all areas of management. Therefore
decentralization is broader in scope than delegation.
Delegation by one or a few managers to their subordinates does not
make an organization centralized.
According to Louis A. Allen Delegation can take place from one
person to another and be a complete process. However
,decentralization is completed only when the fullest possible delegation
is made to all or most of the people who are delegated a specific kind
of responsibility.

References

Heinz Weihrich
Mark V Cannice
Harold Koontz
Stoner, Freeman and Gilbert
Principles of Management by JK Jain
www.wikipedia.org
Arthur Lupias report on Delegation of power
:agency theory.
Gerard M Blairs report on The art of delegation.