What is Delegation? Discuss the various forms of Delegation.

Delegation means entrusting part of one’s work to others. The Municipal Commissioner in a City Corporation is statutorily authorized to prepare annual budget. He asks, the Accounts Officer to do this, and thus delegates his work to the officer. A scheme of delegation creates a superior-subordinate relationship and has the following features either expressed or implied:

A superior, in delegating, assigns “ditties” to the subordinates. What the subordinate has to do is clearly stipulated.

Along with such assignments of work, the superior grants “Authority“. This is to facilitate the work assigned to the subordinate, who is thus permitted to spend some money, make some purchases, etc.

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The delegation scheme creates an “Obligation” in the sense that the subordinate becomes duty-bound to complete the job assigned to him.

An obligation created by the delegation scheme cannot be again delegated. In our earlier example, the Accounts Officer can get the work done with the help of his subordinates. But this does not free him from his original obligation. It is only he who is accountable to the Commissioner for the job assigned to him.

Delegation as an organizational principle has been favored for its skill producing and confidence creating attribute. The subordinates who are asked to do the work delegated to them gain experience through this method.

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The actual way a delegation plan works out in an organization is dependent on interpersonal relations. The superior must genuinely delegate and fully trust his subordinate. If the former doubts the latter’s capacity and intention, the delegation plan will remain a more paper plan.

Types of Delegation.

According to the degree of authority delegated, delegation may be:

  • Full or partial,
  • Conditional or unconditional,
  • Formal or informal, and
  • Direct or intermediate.

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Delegation is full: when complete authority is conferred on the agent, for example, when a diplomatic representative is sent abroad with “full powers” to negotiate. It is ‘partial” when he is required to get advice and guidance on crucial points from the head office at home.

Delegation is conditional: when the action of a subordinate is subject to confirmation and control by the principal, it is unconditional when the subordinate is free to act without reservations.

Delegation is formal: when embodied in written rules, and laws, it is informal when based on customs and conventions.

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Delegation is direct: when no third person intervenes between the two parties to delegation. it is intermediate when it is made through a third person. Moorey gives two instances of such delegation. They at the election of the US President by the people through an electoral college and the election of the pope by the congregation through the council of cardinals.

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