Elements and Features of The Delegation of Authority

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Tthe delegation of authority is that process of the organisation which involves the division of the work by the managers among their subordinates. It is the delegation of the task with the responsibility and accountability of the respective task. In the delegation, not only the responsibility is transferred but it also transfers the authority of that task also. In other words, we can say that the person to whom the task is delegated, has complete power to take the decisions and they are answerable for the completion and non-completion of the task.

The delegation can also be explained as the sharing of the authority with the people working under them. It is an important task which is undertaken to check the efficiency of the people working in the organisation. It also gives them accountability and makes them responsible towards their duties. The managers are often heavily loaded with lots of tasks. Thus, they transfer some of their responsibilities to their subordinates to reduce their burden and complete the task on behalf of the managers.

In some cases, there is no delegation of the authority, but the only responsibility is shared with the subordinate. But that part of authority is shared which is essential for the completion of the task. In this article, we will also discuss the elements covered under the delegation of authority and its features.

But first, let’s talk about the different levels of management so that you know completely how the responsibility and the task are delegated.


  • Top level

The major level is the top-level management at which the company has their CEO, Managing directors, Directors, bods etc. You can also have a look at the article advantages and disadvantages of being a CEO for the better understanding of the top level management. The upper-level management delegates the authority to the middle-level management.

  • Middle-level management

Then, there is the middle-level management which includes the managers of different departments. Furthermore, we have assistant general managers, deputy general managers, general managers and supervisors etc. This level of management completes the duties of upper-level management and also delegate the authorities to the lower level management through the supervisors.

  • Lower level management

The lower level of management has the labourers and the workers who are also known as blue-collar people. This level of management has to complete the tasks assigned by the middle and upper-level management, but they do not have any direct contact with them. This level has no authority, but they delegate the tasks.


Following are the three main elements of the delegation of authority.

  • Responsibility

Responsibility is the assignment of the task to the people working in the organisation. Certain tasks have to be completed by the subordinates and are assigned by the managers to them. The subordinates have to put all their abilities and mental skills to complete the task effectively and efficiently. In the delegation of responsibility, the only task is to be done by the subordinates, but they are not accountable for it. The flow of responsibility is upwards.

  • Authority

For the completion of the responsibility, there is also some authority that has to be assigned for the completion of those tasks. Authority is the power that is given to the subordinate with the task so that he can take the required decisions. Thus, the manager also delegates some part of their authority with the delegation of the task to take the independent decisions on behalf of the managers.

But one thing to consider is that the authority should be as per the responsibility. It means that the power should be according to the role transferred; not more or less than the requirement. The flow of authority is upward in the scalar chain with the increase in the authority.

  • Accountability

Accountability is the answerability which is there to make a check on the performance of the employees. The manager needs to keep an eye if the subordinate is working on his responsibilities or not and for this purpose, they assign the task to the subordinates, and for those tasks, they make accountable so that they can ask them whether the task has completed or not. When the time arrives, they hold them accountable for the completion or non-completion of the task. The flow of accountability is also upwards. For instance, the subordinate will be accountable to the manager and the manager will be accountable to his superior.

Therefore, these all elements play a major role in the working of the organisation.


Here are certain features of a delegation of authority as mentioned below:

  • Delegation means the transfer of the power to the subordinate so that he can take his independent decisions, but there are always some limits assigned to the subordinates by the superior because they are working under the superior. And the subordinate has to comply with the rules and regulations of the company by following all their policies.
  • In the delegation, the manager does not give up his duties or authorities, but there is only the sharing of the authorities and only the required responsibilities with the subordinates.
  • The authority once transferred is dependent upon the superior, he can withdraw the authorities at any time and can also expand them at the time of requirement. Thus, the subordinate has to accept the decision of the superior.
  • Only that authority can be delegated which the manager or the superior himself. He cannot transfer the role of duty which is not even the part of his job role. For example, if we take the example of a human resource manager of a company, who is into the training and development. He cannot transfer the role of recruitment because his role is not hiring the people. He cannot transfer the role of training and development.
  • The source of communication of delegation of authority can be written in the format of the mail, or it can also be oral or verbal. The written communication is considered to be more formal.
  • It is also considered to be an art, and all the employees have to comply with the rules and regulations of the company.