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Delegation and Decentralization


Devolution of authority & responsibility on subordinates to make them perform the assigned duties or tasks. Entrustment of responsibility or duty to subordinates Granting of authority to enable the subordinates to perform the duties assigned Creation of obligation on part of the subordinate to perform duties in an orderly manner

What is delegation ?
Delegation occurs when some people ask others to perform tasks on their behalf .e.g. most of us delegate to grocers the task of acquiring various foods ,the doctor of treating others . In this way it helps us to overcome personal limitations because each of us has limited time ,energy and talents. Thus it increases the numbers of tasks that can be accomplished .

Kinds of delegation
There are three kinds of delegation

Downward delegation. Upward delegation. Sidewise delegation .

Principles of delegation

Delegation by results expected. Use of exception principle . Scalar principle . Absoluteness of responsibility. Parity of authority and responsibility. Unity of command . Clarification of the limits of authority .

Delegation of authority and responsibility

Authority and responsibility must be delegated through out a firm to promote efficiencies of an organizational structure. Delegation of authority is necessary whenever a manager must rely on another to help accomplish an objective.

Process Of Delegation

2. 3.


The process of delegation involves Determining the results expected from a person . Assigning tasks to the position . Delegating authority for accomplishing these tasks . Holding the person in that position responsible and accountable for the accomplishment of these tasks.

Dual characteristic of delegation

As a result of delegation the subordinate receives authority from the superior but at the same time the superior retains all original authority. Therefore authority and responsibility can be delegated by a manager, they can never be abdicated .

What to delegate
Tasks in which your staff have more experience must be delegated to them . you should distribute the more mundane tasks as evenly as possible; and sprinkle the more exciting ones as widely.

How to delegate

You must enable access to the necessary knowledge. Decide the reporting schedule at the onset The key is to delegate gradually . Each task delegated should have enough complexity to stretch that member of staff - but only a little. You must enable access to the necessary knowledge.

Barriers related to Delegator

Tendency to do things personally. Attachment with previous responsibilities. Fear of being exposed. Desire to dominate. Unwillingness to accept risks. Attitude that the subordinate is incapable of using the authority properly. Lack of proper planning and organizing. Lack of proper communication ,coordination and control systems. Lack of availability of competent subordinates.

Barriers related to Subordinates

Perpetual dependence on superiors . Lack of self confidence . Lack of positive incentives.

Why must a manager delegate

A manager must delegate because of the following reasons. There is always a limit to personal capacities. Delegating is a cardinal step in in developing subordinates. The need for organizational depth .

Ways to overcame the barriers to delegation

Make the delegator feel secure . Realize the need for and belief in delegation. Establish a fear and frustration free work environment. Tie in with intelligent planning . Keeping a hand in duties delegated. Determine what to delegate and provide adequate authority. Choose the delegate wisely . Give assistance to the delegate. Reward effective delegation and successful assumption of authority.

Concentration of decision-making power at the top hierarchy of management Dispersal of decision-making power to the low levels of organization

According to Fayol
Everything which goes to reduce the importance of the subordinates role is centralization

Everything that goes to increase the importance of the subordinates role is decentralization

Centralization of authority

Centralization of authority means retention or concentration of management authority in a relatively few key managerial positions at the nerve centre of the organizational structure.

When do organizations tend to be centralized ?

The size of the organization is small. Business activities are concentrated at a single point . Top managers are of dominating nature . Environment is stable . When the stage of business is initial .

Features of centralized organizations

Little delegation of authority. Top management assumes most of the power and responsibility . Close supervision and control on every aspect of managerial functioning by top managers .

Advantages of centralization

Uniformity of actions . Coordination and integration of organizational efforts which leads to focus on overall organizational perspectives . Quick decisions (particularly in time of emergency ). Economic. Powerful top management.

Limitations of centralization

Overburdened top management . Delayed and unsound decisions . Rigidity of organization. Unsuitable for growing and complex organizations.


The tendency to disperse decision making authority in an organized structure . It is the fundamental aspect of delegation to the extent that the authority to be delegated is decentralized . According to Koontz and ODonnelldecentralization is the systematic effort to delegate to the lowest levels all authority except that can be exercised at a central point.

Factors determining degree of centralization/decentralization

Significance of a decision. Desire for uniformity. Size of the business unit . Business dynamics . History of the enterprise. Availability of competent managers . Efficacy of control techniques . Nature of top management . Environmental influence

Decentralization as a philosophy and policy

Decentralization implies more than delegation .It reflects the philosophy of the organization and management .It requires careful selection of the decision to push down the organization structure and which to hold near the top, specific policy making to guide the decision making ,proper selection and training of people and adequate controls.

Advantages of decentralization

Reduction of work load of top management . Quick Decision-making. Motivation of Personnel. Facilitates product diversification. Promotes the development of managers. Aids adaptation of fast changing environment. Better Coordination and Team work .

Limitations of decentralization

Makes uniform policy making more difficult. Results in loss of power of the upper level managers . Limited by inadequate control techniques . Constrained by planning and control system. Limited by lack of qualified managers . Involves considerable expenses for training managers .

Centralization and decentralization as tendencies

complete centralization (no organization structure)

complete decentralization (no organization structure)

Delegation and decentralization

When delegation is systematically practiced in all departments and at all levels , it results in a decentralized structure. delegation is thus a means to decentralization. According to Koontz ,O Donnel and Weihrich Decentralization reflects a philosophy of organizing and managingindeed a policy of decentralization affects all areas of management. Therefore decentralization is broader in scope than delegation. Delegation by one or a few managers to their subordinates does not make an organization centralized. According to Louis A. Allen Delegation can take place from one person to another and be a complete process. However ,decentralization is completed only when the fullest possible delegation is made to all or most of the people who are delegated a specific kind of responsibility.