When the work of an office manager increases so much that he cannot cope with it, he may divide the work among his subordinates. During, the course of division he expects that each subordinate will do the job as he himself would have done. This process of dividing the work among the subordinates is called delegation. The process of division of work whereby the subordinates are entrusted with a part of the work is called delegation. Delegation is termed as the ability to get results through others.
According to Koontz and O'Donnel "the cement that binds the organisation together is called delegation." According to Brech delegation means the passing on to others of a share in the essential elements of management process.
When the business grows beyond the capacity of a manager, he has to delegate because his authority is limited. The success in delegation lies in his ability to cope with others. According to Alien one man's job grows beyond Ms capacity, his success lies in his ability to multiply himself through other people.
Delegation involves three important aspects like assigning duties by the executives, granting of authority and creation of obligation or accountability.
Basic Principles of Delegation:
The followings are some of the important principles of delegation of authority:
(a) Authority should commensurate with responsibility- It is not correct to say that authority should be equal to responsibility. Authority is the power to carryout an assignment and responsibility is the obligation to accomplish them. It is logical to say that authority needed to do a job should correspond to the responsibility. Though equalisation of authority and responsibility is not possible, authority should be co-extensive or commensurate with responsibility.
(b) Responsibility cannot be delegated— When authority is delegated to a subordinate by an executive, the executive does not pass on the responsibility for it. He is still accountable for it to his immediate superior. As the responsibility to the superior is absolute, it is also termed as the principles of absolute responsibility.
(c) Dual subordination should be avoided— There is a saying that a man can-not serve two masters in the same way. Every subordinate in the organization must know who delegates authority to him and to whom the matters beyond his authority will be referred. The executive should ensure that authority passes through the formal chain of command and the line supervisors are not bypassed.
The most important step in the organization of office work is to assign definite duties and responsibility to each executive. This should be accompanied by delegation of authority. Authority flows downward as it implies the right to acquire action of others. Responsibility flows upward because a person is accountable to another in the higher rank.