Authority

Authority, Responsibility, Accountability

Authority

Authority is the kind of right and power through which it guides and directs the actions of others so that the organizational goals can be achieved. It is also related with decision-making. It is vested in particular position, not to the person because authority is given by an institution and therefore it is legal.

Responsibility
Authentic body of an organization is top-level management, top-level management direct the subordinates. Departmental managers and other personnel take the direction from top-level management to perform the task. Authority is necessary to perform the work. Only authority is not provided to the people but obligation is also provided. So the obligation to perform the duties and task is known as responsibility.
Accountability

Subordinates receive the authority from top-level of the organization, and they also receive the command and direction to perform the work. In other words, they are authorized and responsible for a specific function. Sometimes the task may not be performed effectively the subordinates may not be performed effectively. The subordinates must report bossing about the assigned task. S/he must answer his/her performance which is known as accountability.


Delegation of authority
All activities are not performed by one person. Authority should be provided to the subordinates too. Process of transferring authority and creation of responsibility between superior and subordinates to accomplish a certain task is called delegation of authority. It can take place without decentralization. It can be withdrawn by delegator at any time. It minimizes the burden of managers of unit, departments or plant. Relationship is between superior and immediate subordinates are indicated. It is technique of management used to get the things done through others. It is confined to manager and subordinates. Authority is only delegated, not responsibilities. Very important to management process Control remains in hand of superior who supervise the activities of subordinates. It is an art of management science. When authority is not given to subordinates there is no performance. Delegation is the process of sharing power and work (deliver the power from one to another).


Principles of delegation of authority:

  1. Principle of parity of authority and responsibility: Parity of authority and responsibility is one of the important principles of delegation of authority. There is equality in assigned task and power to do the work. Authority to the subordinates is given by the superior on the basis of assigned task. So Authority to the subordinates is given nether more or less than the task otherwise there can be improper utilization of authority and mismanagement of task.
  2. Principle of absoluteness of responsibility: According to it, responsibility can’t be delegated. Only authority can be delegated. The person who delegates authority is himself responsible for his seniors.
  3. Principle of unity of command: According to it, subordinates must be commanded by one superior, they should take their task from one superior and should be accountable for their responsibility toward the superior level of operation.
  4. Principle of functional definition of authority and responsibility: As per this principle. Duties and task assigned by the superior and the authority given to fulfill the task should be clearly explained and decided. But this subordinates can know about the limit of one’s right, duties and responsibility.
  5. The scalar chain: According to it, authority flows from top to bottom. So that scalar chain is the basis of relationship between the superior and subordinates. It emphasizes the relation between superior and subordinates by which delegation will be easier.



Barriers to effective delegation of authority

Even though delegation is vital for the efficient functioning of the organization, in practice there are several factors which prevent effective delegation. These problems in delegation may be classified into three categories.

Obstacles due to superiors

Managers are often reluctant to delegate authority due o the following reasons:

  1. 1. Some managers are autocratic, and they think that delegation will lead to reduction of their influence in the organization.
  2. Some managers think that no one can do the job as well as they can do. They think themselves as the most experienced ones.
  3. An incompetent manager doesn’t want to delegate his authority for fear of being exposed.
  4. Few mangers are inclined to accept the risk of wrong decisions which the subordinates might take. Therefore, they do not delegate authority and take all the decisions themselves. They are unwilling to calculate the risk.
  5. Managers may not delegate authority because he feels that his subordinates are not capable and reliable. He lacks confidence in his subordinates.
  6. A manager will hesitate to delegate authority if he has no proper means of control to ensure that the authority is being properly used by his subordinates.

Obstacles due to subordinates

The subordinates may not like to accept the delegated authority due to the following reasons:

  1. Subordinate may be reluctant to accept delegation when they lack self-confidence.
  2. Some subordinates may have the attitude of spoon-feeding and depend excessively on the loss for all decisions.
  3. When the subordinates are already overburdened with duties , they do not like additional responsibility through delegation.
  4. They avoid delegation when adequate information, working facilities and resources are not available.
  5. They reject delegation of authority if no incentives are available to them.

Obstacles due to organizing weakness:

Sometimes delegation may be hampered due to weakness in the organization structure. Some weaknesses are as follows:

  1. Inadequate planning
  2.  Splintered authority
  3. Lack of unity of command
  4. Absence of effective control techniques
  5. Non-availability of competent managers
  6. Unclear authority relationship
  7. Environment of internal distrust.


Decentralization of authority.

Decentralization is delegation of and dispersion of authority from top executive to the low level administrator or it may be geographical dispersion of authority from central to many branches. It is not possible without delegation of authority. It prepares the organizational participants of the organization. It is both philosophy and technique of management. Relationship is between top-level, management, departments and units. It involves all managers at all level and relates relationship between departments, sections and units. Withdrawal of authority is not simple in this case. It is optional and situation as per the need of the organization. Control system is also delegated and decentralized to the departmental managers. Superior is relieved from responsibilities too.

Advantages of decentralization of authority

  1. It provides relief to top executives from routine and time-consuming work and helps them to devote greater attention to organizational level works.
  2. It ensures executive development of capable managers because subordinates get opportunity for exercising their own judgment, makes own decision, deal will difficult situations, handle the risk and be trained.
  3. It facilitates growth and diversification of the organization because it helps to expand their production and diversifies production through conversion of centralized structure to decentralized structure.
  4. It permits the managers, close to work and knowledgeable, to make quick and better decisions about circumstances of problems, details of work and so on.
  5. It provides rights, power, and authority, prestige to middle and low level management which helps in getting opportunity for leadership and participation and higher motivation.
  6. It leads to effective supervision and control by evaluating the performance of each unit.


Differences between delegation and decentralization of authority

BasesDelegation of Authority

Decentralization of Authority

NatureProcess of transferring authority and creation of responsibility between superior and subordinates is called delegation. It can take place without decentralization.
Decentralization is delegation of and dispersion of authority. It is not possible without delegation of authority.
PurposeIt minimizes the burden of managers of unit, departments or plant.
It prepares the organizational participants of the organization.
RelationshipRelationship is between superior and immediate subordinates are indicated.
Relationship is between top level, management, departments and units.
TechniquesIt is technique of management used to get the things done through others.
It is both philosophy and technique of management.
PartiesIt is confined to manager and subordinates.
It involves all managers at all level and relates relationship between departments, sections and units.
ResponsibilitiesAuthority is only delegated, not responsibilities.
Superior is relieved from responsibilities too.
NecessityVery important to management process.
It is optional and situational as per the need.
ControlControl remains in hand of superior who supervise the activities of subordinates.
Control is delegated and decentralized to the departmental managers.
Withdrawal of authorityIt can be withdrawn by delegator at any time.
Withdrawal of authority is not simple..



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