What are various types of Delegation?

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Specific or general delegation: specific delegation of authority is related with an assigned the task or a particular function. The authority that has been delegated to the production manager in order to perform this function can be considered as specific delegation of authority. The managers of various departments had given specific authority so that they can complete their departmental duties.
When authority is conferred for performing general managerial functions like organizing, planning or directing etc., these functions are performed by the subordinate managers and they enjoy the authority that is needed for carrying out these responsibilities. In such a case, the chief executive has the overall control and he also guides the subordinates regarding different matters.

Formal or informal delegation: the former delegation of authority is considered as a part of organizational structure. Whenever, a particular task has been assigned to a person, then the necessary authority is also conferred on such a person. This type of delegation is considered as a part of the routine functioning of the organization. In such a case, authority is automatically provided to every person, according to the duties assigned to such a person. For example, when powers are given to the production manager to increase production, it is a case of the former delegation of authority to such manager. On the other hand, the informal delegation of authority does not take place due to position but it takes place according to the prevalent circumstances in the organization. A particular task may be undertaken by a person not the reason that such task has been assigned to the person but because such task is necessary to perform the normal work of the person.

Lateral Delegation: when authority is provided to a person to complete a task, the person may require the assistance of several other persons. As it may take some time to formally get the assistance of these persons, the person may indirectly as these persons for their help to complete the task and in this way, cut short the time needed informal delegation. Therefore when authority is delegated informally, it is known as lateral delegation.

Reserved authority and delegated authority: the person who is going to delegated authority may not want to delegate the authority to the subordinates. In this way, the authority that the person keeps with himself is known as reserved authority and the authority that has been conferred upon the subordinates is known as the delegated authority.


Requirements for Delegation: Every superior in the organization wants to retain as much authority as possible. The circumstances or the load of work may require the superior to delegate authority downwards. But if the authority has not been delegated willingly, then it may not be easy to achieve the desired results. Hence it is very significant that appropriate authority should flows downwards for the purpose of ensuring that the work is completed smoothly and efficiently. For this purpose, the process of delegation of authority can be considered as complete only if the below mentioned requirements are fulfilled.

Willingness to delegate: the first requirement in this regard is that there should be willingness on the part of the superior to delegate authority to the subordinates. Unless the superior is mentally ready to part with his authority, the delegation of authority cannot prove to be effective. Similarly if the superior is forced to delegate authority downwards against his will, the superior will try to find out the ways to interfere with the working of the subordinate. In such a case, the superior may overshadow the subordinate to such an extent that each and every decision needs to be implemented after taking the approval of the superior and the performance of the subordinate has to face the close scrutiny from the superiors. Therefore, it will be better not to delegate authority at all unless the superior is willing to do so.

Environment of trust and confidence: trust and confidence should be present between the superiors and their subordinates in the organization. The subordinates are required to be provided opportunities or real job situations where they may get a chance to use their talent and experience. On the other hand if any mistake is made by the subordinates, the superiors should help and correct these mistakes. Similarly the superiors should also have full faith in the abilities of their subordinates and they should not treat their subordinates as their competitors. By creating an environment of trust and confidence in the organization, the subordinates will be able to learn and grow and such environments will also help in ensuring smooth process of delegation.


Faith in the subordinates: there are certain cases where the superiors failed to delegate authority to the fear that the subordinates will not be able to complete the job independently on their own. In such a case, the superiors do not have faith in the abilities of the subordinates and they do not want to take any risks. Such superiors are over conscious regarding their own skills and competence and the result is that they do not want to delegate authority to their subordinates. However such situation should be avoided by the superiors and they should have faith in the abilities of their subordinates. Similarly, the superiors should help the subordinates in completing the job properly. The superiors should remember that they have also learned a number of things from their own superiors and their subordinates will also be able to complete difficult tasks if proper guidance is provided to them. Such an environment of faith will allow the subordinates to learn things faster and they will be able to take more responsibilities in the organization.

Fear of the supervisors: Generally, it has been seen that the superiors have a fear that their position may not be overtaken by the subordinates if they are provided high responsibilities. However, all such fears are unfounded and baseless. The superiors may provide a number of reasons for not delegating authority but this view is the main cause. This type of thinking should be avoided by the superiors and they should nurture positive attitude towards their subordinates. Similarly, they should encourage their subordinates to take up more responsibilities and in turn, the subordinates will have more respect for the abilities of their superiors.

This article has been written by KJ Singh a MBA Graduate from a prestigious Business School In India
Article Published:March 13, 2017
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