Show how delegation of authority in an organization is influenced the following factors:
a) Chain of command (5 marks)
b) Unity of command (5 marks)
c) Span of control (5 marks)
d) Line and staff relationship
Delegation of authority is the process of vesting decision-making discretion in the subordinates a superior. It is the passing of needed authority to subordinates a superior to accomplish responsibilities. The manner in which work is delegated directly affects the overall effectiveness of the organization in attaining its objectives. Even with delegation, the manager is still held responsible for the success or otherwise of business operations (ultimate responsibility remains with the superior).
Delegation means giving the subordinates authority to do something which the executive does not have time to do. When the subordinate accepts the assignment through delegation of authority, he assumes responsibility for performing the duties assigned.
a) Chain of command:
Delegated authority need necessarily flow vertically from top level management to lower level management. A single line of authority creates harmony in reporting outcomes of delegated work.
b) Unity of Command:
Authority should be delegated so that the individual reports to only one superior. Every superior has complete command over his subordinates and every subordinate is directly accountable to only one superior immediately above him. If a subordinate was to report to several superiors in relation to delegated work, his actions may be confused resulting in sub-optimal work.
c) Span of control:
This refers to the number of people a superior can effectively supervise. There is always a limit to the number of subordinates (delegates) each executive can supervise effectively because each executive has limited time, knowledge, attention and capacity.
Organisations with narrow span of control/many management levels exhibit a limited degree of delegation while those with wide span of control/fewer management levels exhibit more visible delegation.
d) Line and staff relationship:
Line executives are responsible for execution of organizational objectives while staff provide advice, information and assistance to line executives to enable them work more efficiently. Responsibility for action/ultimate authority is in the hands of the line managers and delegation of work to staff is only advisory. Line managers should not delegate to staff managers as this often results into conflicts.