Elements of Delegation
According to Louis Allen, delegation is the entrustment of responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance. A detailed analysis of Louis Allen’s definition brings to light the following essential elements of delegation:
(i) Authority: Authority refers to the right of an individual to command his subordinates and to take action within the scope of his position. The concept of authority arises from the established scalar chain which links the various job positions and levels of an organisation.
(ii) Responsibility: Responsibility is the obligation of a subordinate to properly perform the assigned duty. It arises from a superior–subordinate relationship because the subordinate is bound to perform the duty assigned to him by his superior. Thus, responsibility flows upwards i.e., a subordinate will always be responsible to his superior.
An important consideration to be kept in view with respect to both authority and responsibility is that when an employee is given responsibility for a job he must also be given the degree of authority necessary to carry it out. Thus, for effective delegation the authority granted must be commensurate with the assigned responsibility. If authority granted is more than Overview of the elements of delegation Basis Authority Responsibility Accountability Meaning Right to command. Obligation to perform an assigned task. Answerability for outcome of the assigned task. Delegation Can be delegated. Cannot be entirely delegated. Cannot be delegated at all. Origin Arises from formal position . Arises from delegated authority. Arises from responsibility. Flow Flows downward from superior to subordinate. Flows upward from subordinate to superior. Flows upward from subordinate to superior responsibility, it may lead to misuse of authority, and if responsibility assigned is more than authority it may make a person ineffective.
(iii) Accountability: Delegation of authority, undoubtedly empowers an employee to act for his superior but the superior would still be accountable for the outcome: Accountability implies being answerable for the final outcome. Once authority has been delegated and responsibility accepted, one cannot deny accountability. It cannot be delegated and flows upwards i.e., will be accountable to a superior for satisfactory performance of work. It indicates that the manger has to ensure the proper discharge of duties by his subordinates. It is generally enforced through regular feedback on the extent of work accomplished.