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 delegationThere 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 andresponsibility 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 ? The process of delegation involves –2. Determining the results expected from a person .3. Assigning tasks to the position .4. Delegating authority for accomplishing these tasks .5. 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 don’t 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 don’t acceptdelegation 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 anddecision-making authority areconcentrated or centralized in thehands of a small number of seniormanagers and only limited authorityand power is delegated tosubordinates. (Westburn publishers)
Different kinds of centralization Centralization of performance . Departmental centralization. Centralization of managements.
When do organizations tend to becentralized ? 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 O’Donnell- 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 ofdecentralization 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 andpolicy 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 astendencies complete centralization complete decentralization (no organization structure) (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 managing…………indeed 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 Lupia’s report on “Delegation of power :agency theory.” Gerard M Blair’s report on “The art of delegation.”