Just as no person alone in an enterprise can do all the tasks necessary for the accomplishment of goals, so also it is impossible, for one person to exercise all the authority for making decisions. There is a limit to the number of person managers can effectively supervise and for whom they can make decisions and once this limit is crossed, the authority must be delegated to the subordinates, who will make decisions within the area of their assigned duties. Then the question is how authority is delegated when decision-making power is vested in a subordinate by his superior and superiors cannot delegate all their authority without, in effect, transferring their position to their subordinates. The entire process of delegation involves four steps. They are:

  1. The determination of results expected from persons in a position;
  2. The assignment of tasks to persons;
  3. The delegation of authority for accomplishing these tasks; and
  4. The holding of people responsible for the accomplishment of these tasks.

Thus, delegation is the process that a manager follows in diving the work assigned to him so that he performs that part, which because of his position, can perform effectively. According to F.G.Moore “ Delegation means assigning work to others and giving them authority to do it”.


The salient features of the delegation of authority that can be derived are:

  1. Delegation essentially means passing on authority.
  2. Only a part of the authority is delegated by a superior.
  3. Authority is delegated to a subordinate.
  4. A superior can delegate authority only when the superior possesses that.
  5. The limits within which a subordinate is expected to exercise delegated authority, have to be fixed.
  6. Delegation of authority does not imply the abdication of responsibility on the part of the superior.
  7. Delegation of authority is for the discharge of some responsibility or duty assigned.
  8. It creates accountability or obligation on the part of the person who has been delegated authority, for proper use of authority and accomplishment of the task assigned.

A manager cannot delegate all his authority and for the purpose of the delegation, all authority of a manager can be divided into three broad categories:

  1. The authority which must be delegated as authority to take routine decisions for the accomplishment of tasks;
  2. The authority which can be delegated as the administration of policies; and
  3. The authority cannot be delegated at all as the authority to make policy decisions.

A successful manager is one who can delegate his authority successfully and he must delegate the authority to do work of routine and subsidiary nature. For instance, the marketing manager of a business enterprise is responsible for many operations like conducting marketing research, development of means of sales promotion, management of advertising, employment and training of sales forces, etc. The marketing manager cannot look after all these operations and he can entrust the responsibility of the performance of some of these operations to his subordinates.  

Categories: Business

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