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Delegation of Authority

This article covers meaning, importance & parameters of Delegation of Authority from HRM perspective

Published by MBA Skool Team in Human Resources Terms Last Updated: December 29, 2023Read time:

What is Delegation of Authority?

Delegation of Authority is defined as a flow of work from a senior, who delegates command & authority, to a subordinate for better management of the total work with increased efficiency. Delegation means the process of dividing work among the reporting subordinates to take decisions but in delegation of authority, the power and authority to complete tasks also is given.

In most of the organizations there is a clear hierarchy and the work moves from top to bottom. The delegation of authority is an approach taken by most of the managers in the hierarchy to keep the work moving towards right outcomes. The work is delegated to subordinates through the transfer of responsibility and ownership. 

Importance of Delegation of Authority

Delegation is simply giving or allotting certain task or work to a subordinate. However, a manager can give his or her subordinate the power to make certain decisions also. This means the subordinates also have authority to make decisions on manager's behalf so that the work is done without burdening the manager or the personal who delegated the work. In delegation of authority, the power given to the subordinate is within the scope of the work assigned and not beyond it.

The manager can still override the decision.

This is an important concept as it helps in a smooth functioning of a company, motivates the subordinates to be bold and trains subordinates to take decisions. It also is a way to share responsibility at workplace and be more accountable. This makes delegation of authority an important practice in organizations these days.

Delegation of Authority Parameters

The parameters in the delegation of authority process are:

1. Ownership

Ownership is assumed by the person to whom the work is delegated. The work has to be completed at expected standards and timelines. If there are delays or issues with the work delivered then the ownership lies with the person who completed the work after getting it delegated from top.

2. Responsibility

Responsibility is the onus on the delegated team to finish the task. The person is responsible for finishing the work which was assigned. Here the quality may or may not matter as responsibility is about completing the work. Ownership defines the quality parameters

3. Efficiency

Now the delegation of authority should increase the efficiency of the team and organization. The whole concept is driven by ability to distribute the tasks to more people in order to complete them in time and at certain quality standards. Ownership and responsibility parameters define the overall efficiency. Let us discuss more about in next sec

Delegation of Authority and Efficiency

With delegation of authority, the overall efficiency of the project or assignment increases as opposed to when manager involves too much with subordinates works and end up over burdening himself/herself. This transfers not only the work to the subordinates but also makes them responsible to make important decisions. Thus, delegation of authority ensures there are two or more skilled employees working to their fullest capacity. On the other hand, the overall efficiency would come down if both the employees work separately without any shared responsibility.

Authority vs Responsibility

Authority is the power in the hands of an individual to make his peers or subordinates accountable for their work. Whereas responsible is just a piece of work one has to do with certain accountability. There are certain rules in delegation of Authority around authority and responsibilities. In order to complete a certain responsibility, he needs some authority. Also Delegation should mostly come from a single manager and not multiple as such authority can be conflicting in nature. This is better in companies where there is a clear hierarchy well defined in the organizational structure.

To summarize, delegation of authority is the process of sharing authority and responsibility.

Advantages of delegation of authority

There are several benefits of passing on responsibility and work to juniors at workplace. Certain advantages of delegations of authority are:

1. It helps the organization to grow at a better rate as both the seniors and junior share work and responsibility

2. Delegation of authority boost their self confidence and helps them improve their motivation to perform.

3. Employees get better skills on the job and better prepared for more trainings

4. The overall decision making process of the company gets quicker by delegation of authority as more minds work on it

5. It helps in quicker expansion of workforce and more leaders are created

Disadvantages of delegation of authority

Despite having many positives, certain disadvantages of delegation of authority are discussed below:

1. Lack of training and skills of juniors can lead to wrong decisions being taken

2. Misuse of delegation of authority can lead to issues not only for the managers but also companies

Hence, this concludes the definition of Delegation of Authority along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team which comprises of MBA students, management professionals, and industry experts. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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