Hindrances to Delegation

Hindrances to Delegation:

The successful operation of any organization depends to a very large extent upon a sound system of delegation. That is why delegation is very important for all organizations. Still superior officers at times hesitate to delegate authority. They often try to get more and more authority but are not willing to delegate authority. In fact, delegation faces several hindrances, psychological as well as organizational.

For the sake of convenience, we can group these hindrances into two parts i.e. organizational hindrances and personal or psychological hindrances.

Organizational Hindrances:

(1) Lack of established methods and procedures. Delegation is made easier if procedures and rules are well established. Also for making delegation successful, definite procedures should be laid down and followed. Lack of established and definite methods and procedures always hinders the process of delegation.

(2) Lack of means of coordination and communication. Coordination is an important principle of an organization. Without coordination, no organization can work. But coordination requires clear and timely communication. Without proper communication, there can be no real and meaningful coordination, and without coordination, there can be little effective delegation. 

(3) Unstable and changing nature of work. Stable and repetitive work affords a great degree of delegation. However, if the work is new or fast developing or non-repetitive and unstable, delegation gets hindered. The subordinate can shirk a new type of work while his superior can try to compel him to do the work through delegation.

(4) Size and location of an organization. The larger the organization and the broader its geographic coverage, the greater the chances of delegation. However, the large size can cause the problem of effective relegation and proper monitoring of the delegated work and responsibility. 

(5) Lack of spelled-out positions. Lack of properly spelled-out positions and unspecific terms of delegation of duties and authority also poses a hindrance in the way of the process of delegation.

Personal or Psychological Hindrances:

Several personal or psychological factors also cause hindrances in the way of delegation. These include the egoistic tendency of the superior to have credit for everything, fear or disloyalty on the part of the subordinates, lack of confidence in the capacity and competence of the subordinates, absence of emotional maturity in the chief, lack of knowledge of what to delegate and how to delegate, and fear of accountability to the higher levels or to the legislature. Pfiffner gives the following human causes of hindrances in the way of delegation of authority by superiors:

(1) Persons who rise to positions of hierarchical leadership have more than normal egoism.

(2) Superiors are afraid that subordinates or others will not make proper decisions or carry them out in the desired manner.

(3) They fear that disloyal or subversive power centers will develop among strong subordinates.

(4) Strong, vigorous, and highly motivated persons become impatient with the slow pace and indecisiveness of their subordinates.

(5) In Public Administration, political considerations often make delegation difficult.

(6) The cultural heritage of humans has been one of authoritarian and patriarchal headships. The practice of delegation is partly dependent on cultural change, which comes but slowly.

(7) The act of delegation requires emotional maturity which apparently is rare even among successful persons.

(8) The symbols of leadership (those personal qualities and traits which attract the attention of others) are inconsistent with the philosophy of delegation. Those striving to succeed must make themselves prominent, and hence they naturally resist delegation.

(10) At times, those who desire to delegate do not know how to do it.

(11) They do not know how far they should delegate, at least for two reasons:

  • The science of organization and management is immature and also inadequate.
  • Their work experience has not taught them to delegate because most organizations fail to practice delegation.

In addition to these, the non-acceptance of delegation on the part of the subordinates can also be a problem. The reason behind this can be the:

  • fear of criticism.
  • lack of the needed information and resources to do a good job.
  • lack of confidence to exercise delegated authority.
  • lack of initiative and drive.
  • work more in quantity than one’s capacity to work.

In spite of the above-listed hindrances, delegation is usually practiced in all organizations; rather it has to be practiced due to the increasing volume and complexity of work. Delegation is an important principle of organization. In contemporary times, no organization, particularly no large-scale organization, can work properly without delegation.

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