Table of Contents
Delegation is a universal phenomenon. No organization can work without devolution of authority as it is a means of bringing efficiency and economy to administration. It is also needed for the smooth working of the administration. In the contemporary era of large-scale organizations, delegation has become a vital necessity. Without delegation, no large-scale or big organization can really and effectively work. Writing about the importance of Delegation, L. D. White says, “Circumstances of magnitude and volume, however, require some delegation of authority and the settlement of much business at the point where it arises.” Delegation is less needed in a small-scale organization. However, in a large-scale organization, it is practically impossible for one man to do all the work and to carry out the burden or the responsibility without delegating, dividing, or sharing it.
Delegation is a good tool for dividing and distributing authority. All organizations are organized on the basis of the principle of hierarchy which binds different levels and units of the organization with a continuous chain of authority. In all organizations, therefore, delegation of authority is inevitable. It is a good device for minimizing the chances of delay in the execution of work. It is also a source of efficiency in an organization.
Meaning and Definition of Delegation:
Generally speaking, Delegation means the transfer or grant of authority by a superior to a subordinate for the accomplishment of some work. The authority belongs to the superior. However, for the sake of convenience or efficiency or for meeting a rush of work, he delegates its exercise to his subordinate or subordinates.
(1) Mooney defines Delegation as “a conferring of specified authority by a higher to a lower authority. It is devolution of authority by a person to his agent or subordinate, subject to his right of supervision and control.”
(2) In the words of Albert K. Wickesberg, “The act or process of delegation is the assigning to subordinates of specified tasks of the organization and granting to one or more persons the authority necessary for directing satisfactorily the activities and duties so assigned.”
(3) John D. Millet defines Delegation as “More than simply assigning duties to others in more or less detail.”
(4) According to George R. Terry, “Delegation is conferring of authority from one executive or organizational unit to another. It implies that delegation is not only devolution from higher to lower but it can be from lower to higher or between equals.”
Thus, Delegation is the system in which a higher official or unit assigns some duties to a lower official or unit i.e., delegates authority for accomplishing a specific task of the organization. The authority delegated is specific and defined. The delegating official/unit retains the right to control, limit or withdraw the authority delegated. “It may be downward where it moves from the higher to the lower level. It may be upward when it moves from the lower to the higher level. It may be sideward i.e., when delegation takes place at an equal level.”
In other words, delegation involves the conferring of a part of work or responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance.
Kinds of Delegation:
In terms of the degree of authority delegated, we can refer to several kinds of Delegation.
(1) Full Delegation- Delegation may be full delegation where full powers are granted to the lower functionary. Such delegation is called total delegation.
(2) Partial Delegation- When the lower one is required to get advice and guidance from the delegating authority.
(3) Conditional Delegation- When the action of the subordinate is subject to confirmation and revision by the superior.
(4) Unconditional Delegation- When the subordinate is free to act without any reservation.
(5) Formal Delegation- When delegation is granted according to written rules or laws or orders.
(6) Informal Delegation- When delegation is based on customs, conventions, and understanding.
(7) Direct Delegation- When delegation is directly conferred by the delegating authority to the subordinates without any middleman or party.
(8) Intermediate or Indirect Delegation- When delegation is conferred through a third person or unit.
(9) Normal Delegation- When defined and limited authority is delegated to the subordinate or to a lower level.
(10) Abnormal Delegation- When unduly large and wide-ranging powers are delegated by a higher authority to a lower authority.
All these types of delegation of powers, authority, or responsibility are used by the superior for getting the work done by their subordinates. They have to resort to it due to some practical difficulties or needs. An increase in the volume of the work of an organization always necessitates delegation.