'Delegation is the entrustment of responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance.' In the light of this statement, explain the elements of delegation.
Delegation refers to the transfer of authority and responsibility to the subordinates. The following are the basic elements of delegation.
(i) Authority: It refers to the power given to an individual to command and direct the subordinates. It implies the right to take decisions regarding what is to be done and by whom. Scalar chain in a formal organisation gives rise to authority as it entails the link between various jobs and determines the relation of who is to report to whom. It is a downward flowing channel, i.e. superior commands authority over the subordinates. The extent of authority at the top level management is the highest and it becomes lesser at the middle level and the lowest at the lower level management. However, the scope of authority delegated, depends on the rules and regulations of the organisation. Assigning authority helps in maintaining obedience and compliance.
(ii) Responsibility: Responsibility refers to the adherence and answerability of the subordinate to complete the given task. That is, once a duty has been assigned to a subordinate, it is his responsibility to perform the task properly. A subordinate should be obedient and loyal towards the duty assigned to him. The superior-subordinate relationship gives rise to a sense of responsibility. As against authority, responsibility flows upward i.e. the subordinate is responsible to his superior. However, care should be taken that while assigning responsibility to a subordinate, he must also be given a certain degree of authority. On the other hand, an individual who is given authority must also have some responsibility. This is because authority without responsibility may lead to the misapplication of power. On the other hand, responsibility without authority may lead to inefficiency.
(iii) Accountability: Accountability implies the answerability of the superior for the final outcome of the work he assigned. Though the superior delegates the work to his subordinate but he still will be responsible for the final outcome. For this the superior, through regular feedbacks and supervision ensures that the subordinate performs the tasks properly and satisfactorily. The concept of being accountable arises out of responsibility itself. We may say that while responsibility is assumed, accountability is imposed.