Essay on Delegation of Authority
Bushardt et al. (2010, p. 9) observed that ‘at the core of management practice is a process that involves assigning tasks to others (delegation), granting these individuals the right to accomplish them (authority) and holding them accountable for accomplishing the tasks (responsibility)’. Dunham and Pierce (cited in Bell & Bodie 2012, p. 94) further defined delegation as ‘the process managers use to transfer formal authority from one position to another within an organisation and, thus, to put the authority system they have designed into place’, while authority is often considered to be the ability to demand obedience or influence the actions, opinions and beliefs of others (Lowe 2007). It is the general understanding that a leader who delegates tasks to a subordinate temporarily transfers some degree of authority and almost all the responsibility to complete the tasks; however the leader is still ultimately accountable for completion of the said tasks. This essay will focus on key concepts of accountability, trust, authority – responsibility ‘gap’, empowerment and leadership, all of which impact efficiency in delegation, which will in turn determine the extent of authority managers would need to retain.
Literature establishes that managers who delegate authority relinquish control over the resource involved, thereby reducing their total authority (Bushardt, Fowler Jr. & Fuselier 1988, p. 72). In support of this, Bell and Bodie (2009, p. 96) define delegation as the process by which a manager will temporarily transfer formal authority to another position on an indispensable assignment. Kamal and Raza (2011, p. 241) observed that the delegation of authority does not in any way relieve managers of their original responsibilities since each manager is still ultimately responsible for all work delegated. For example, an organisation’s vice-president delegates to the head of the advertising department the responsibility for
References: Alonso, R. and Matouschek, N. 2007, “Relational delegation”, RAND Journal of Economics, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 1070 – 1089 Amar, A Anderson, Douglas R. 1992, “Supervisors and the ‘hesitate to delegate’ syndrome”, Supervision, p. 9 Bell, R Bushardt, Stephen C., Fowler, Jr. A., Fuselier, Eric P. 1988, “Delegation, Authority and Responsibility: The Myth and the Reality”, Akron Business and Economic Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 71 – 78 Bushardt Stephen C., Glascoff David W., Doty D Danby, P. 2009, “Setting the Right Direction”, Business Strategy Review, Journal Compilation 2009 London Business School, pp. 59 – 63 Hunter, G Kamal, S. and Raza, J. 2011, “Enhancing Work Efficiency through Skillful Delegation”, Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 241 – 250 Lemberg, P Lowe, J. M. 2007, Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration, SAGE Publications Inc., pp. 64 – 65 Protch, O Sadri, G. 2011, “Empowerment for the bottom line”, Industrial Management, pp. 8 – 13