In organisations, it is difficult on the part of a manager to complete all the jobs assigned to him. He thus, can take help from others by asking them to do some of the work in a formal way. It means, he can assign some of the work to his subordinate and give them authority to carry on the work and at the same time make them accountable.
For example, a production manager may have the target to produce 1000 units in a weeks time. He can distribute his work to three of his subordinates to produce 250 units each and keep 250 units for self to produce. Then, he must also give them enough authority to use organisational resources to produce. By doing so he also makes his subordinates answerable to him for non-performance.
This active process of entrustment of a part of work or responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance is known as delegation. Thus, there are three elements of delegation:
Assignment of Responsibility: This is also known as entrustment of duties. Duties can be divided into two parts: one part, that the individual can perform himself and the other part, that he can assign to his subordinates to perform.
Granting Authority: Authority refers to the official powers and position required to carry on any task. When duties are assigned to subordinates then the required authority must also be conferred to him. For example, when a manager asks his subordinate to receive a guest of the company on his behalf then he must also grant him some authority like carry the company vehicle, booking the company guest house for accommodation, etc.
Creating Accountability: This refers to the obligation on the part of the subordinates, to whom responsibility and authority are granted to see to it that the work is done. In other words, the delegatee is fully answerable to his superior for performance of the task assigned to him. Thus, the superior ensures performance through accountability by his subordinate.
Delegation is considered as one of the most important elements in the process of organisation because, it reduces the load on managers as work is successfully shared by the subordinates. This improves the managerial effectiveness because by delegating a good part of work to the subordinate the managers are able to concentrate on important matters which requires personal attention.
Not only that, the organisations now-a-days are usually large in size and complex in character, and no manager can claim to have all the skills and expertise to handle all kinds of jobs himself. Moreover, the business activities are spread over a larger area with several branches and units, which makes it difficult for him to supervise all the activities personally at all places.
The delegation of responsibility with commensurate authority offers a good workable solution. This also provides an opportunity for subordinates to develop, and motivates and prepares them for taking up higher responsibilities in future. It leads to creating a healthy work environment and harmony among the employees. Thus, delegation facilitates organisational growth and prosperity.