The Impact of Delegation on Management Decision Making

The Impact of Delegation on Management Decision Making

For the purpose of this study, the researcher relied mostly on textbooks aimed at extracting various views and opinions of other scholars.

Delegation can only be effective when it is accompanied by adequate authority and responsibility. Charles (1986), who defined delegation of authority as “the assignment of responsibility and authority supports this view, by a manager to a subordinate”.

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Koontz and Weighrich (1988) defined delegation of authority as vesting of decision making process on a subordinate. Delegation can be said to be a process the determination of results expected from subordinates, the assignment of task, the delegation of authority for accomplishing these tasks and the holding of people’s responsibilities of such task.

According to Arthur (1991), delegation of authority must not necessarily be downward always. It can also be upward, upward delegation usually comes in an innocuous way.


Thomas (1993) “As we delegate, we communicate many things to those around us about our own self image, our perception of those we work with and our feeling about our job”. Delegation involves more than just picking someone who has currently gotten some free times by following an orderly, thoughtful selection routings you can delegate to those whose skills are  most compatible with the job, or pick those who stand to benefit most from their experience. This is supported by Carter (1992). He suggested that managers must learn the act of delegation because it is important in the quest to make effective delegation and it should be made clear to some extent, that the exact process used to assign work will be dictated by the nature of the task. The employee may need very little guidance other- than a clear statement of expected results.

What should we do if delegation does not work, Straub (1994) suggested several steps, which can keep us from shooting ourselves in the feet when delegation boys us down. They are:

i)                   Talk before you act

ii)                Reviewing the how-tos tos

iii)              Back-up your words with action

iv)              Delegate additional parts of the job as performance improves.

We delegate in the effect to make concrete decision. Eleanor (1995) supported this view when he suggested that, “we have always heard that the hallmark of a good manger is the ability to make a good decision? But for most people, decision-making is a skill they gain through trial and error; the problem most mangers face is that they feel compelled always to make the best decision. They become so fearful of not meeting this goals that they get paralyzed in making no decision at all. The following checklist will give us some of the tools we need to:

  • Make strong decision that will withstand criticism.
  • Know when to settle for a less perfect decision determine whether making no decision might be the best option.

(a)      Evaluate the situation properly

(b)     Get feedback because many of the decision you make will affect others more than they affect you. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Hold staff meetings to outline the situation and ask for feedback;
  • Meet with the individuals in your department based on their strengths and knowledge;
  • Talk with your boss or superior

(c)      Weigh the options

  •  Which decision has the worst drawback?
  • Which one has worked in the past?
  • What are the long-term implications for each decision

(d)     Take action; this is the time to announce your decision and    go forth with it

(e)       When the delegation goes wrong, the worst you can do iis avoid making further decision.

When a manager allows fear to become his guide, he loose the respect of his staff, peers and boss. If you make a decision that dies not work:

(a)              Go over the decision and look for its flaws (defects)

(b)             Think how it could have been done differently

(c)              See what can be salvaged

(d)             Ask for feedback

(e)              Learn from the past

For either management or government to make a concrete decision, it involves a lot of processes as highlighted above, hence, management must delegate to make effective decision. Not only management delegate duties, government and other parastatals also delegate. This view is supported by Rondmell (1981) , where delegation is referred to as the transfer of power to sub-national government and or parastatal or other government establishments.

All the above  mentioned current literatures have helped me to build a systematic development of this research work which is on the impact of delegation of authority on management decision-making. This literatures have provide that delegation is a tool for a effective management.


  1. It facilities action taken in an organization
  2. it helps to facilitate training and development of employees
  3. it will lead to higher level of motivation.


One of the most important human activities is managing. Ever since people began to come together as a team to accomplish objective they could not achieve as individuals, managing has been essential to ensure a co-ordinated effort of the individuals. Managing involves the creation and maintenance of an environment necessary to improve the performance of individuals working together as a group towards the accomplishment of a common objective. He society tends to rely heavily on groups also increase, the task of managers has become of great importance.

The task of management is carried out in the context of an organization since there must be a social system where these individuals and groups common objective.

Management can therefore be defined as the process of planning, organizing motivating and controlling of resources of an organization to be able to achieve the organization’s set objective.

Management position involve delegation of authority. Without delegation, no organized accomplishment of organizational objectives could take place. Delegating authority constantly takes place in a large, formal organization, but in the case of one man business is here only the sole proprietor takes decision, delegation many not be necessary.


A major function of the manager is to delegate the work for which he is responsible to his subordinates and to monitor and advise them on the progress they make. Delegation implies responsibility coupled with authority within reasonable limits. That is to say that authority should be commensurate  with responsibility.

Delegated duty without a corresponding authority is a duty never delegated, so it is imperative to examine closely the impact of a duty accomplished with adequate authority. The question is, how much authority can a manager delegate to subordinates the right to do anything that he (the manager) has the right to do, including decision making, except those things he is specifically prohibited from delegating.

Authority is defined as right conferred on some member of an organization to act in a certain way over others. It is the comment of a organization structure, the thread thast makes it possible and the means by which groups of activities can be placed under a manager and co-ordiantion of organization units can be promoted. It is the tool by which a manager is able to exercise discretion and create atmosphere for improved performance.

Delegation, therefore, makes an organization on possible since no one person in on organization can carryout all the tasks necessary for the achievement of organizational goals-so it is impossible as an enterprise grows for one person to exercise all the authority for making decision. For this reason, authority should  be delegated to subordinates who will make decision within the area of their assigned duties.


Delegation of authority is the process of assigning responsibilities along with the needed authority from a person of formal authority and responsibility to subordinates to carryout a specific activity.

Authority is delegated when a superior gives a subordinate discretion to make decision. Obviously, the superior cannot delegate authority they do not have. Delegation involves risk and the risk the managers take when delegating authority is adherent in the managerial job. If this can be acceptable to all managers, they would be more in dined to delegate adequate authority for subordinates to accomplish their assignment effectively and efficiently.

(a)              Determination of results expected from a position

(b)             Assignment of tasks to a position

(c)              Delegation of authority for the accomplishment of the tasks.

(d)             Organizing of people responsible for the accomplishment of tasks.

In practice, delegation of authority can be specific or general, written or unwritten. It should be clear and specific to ensure successful and effective accomplishment of tasks. If delegation is not clear a manger may not understand the nature of the duties or the result expected by his supervisor. A job assignment of a company controller, for examples, many  specify such functions as accounting, credit control cash control, financing and statistics. To make the job more clear these  functions may further be broken down into more definite duties. Authority delegated is not permanently disposed of. It can be regained; therefore re-organization no doubt involves some recovery and re-delegaton of authority.


Authority in organization is the right in a position (and through the person occupying the position to exercise discretion in making decision affecting others. It is a sort of power in an organization setting. Responsibility involves. It refers to legitimate expectation of a level of performance that a superior has over his subordinates. It can be referred to as accountability, that is, that one person is accountable to another for a given task as Mafarland puts it. Henry fayol finds authority and responsibility to be related, with the later being the covnllary of the former and arising from it.

Delegation embraces both authority and responsibility, some writers argue that responsibility cannot be delegated. Authority without responsibility gives risk to possible abuse of delegation. It is not possible to delegate one without the other. There should be adequate responsibility to match the authority which is delegated to give the subordinate freedom of action without agreed terms of references and to avoid supervision. The fact remains that if subordinate is to take certain decision. Subordinates must be aware of their responsibility in the performance of their tasks and in dialing with other staff. Delegated duties are sometimes delegated further down the organization structure. Effective delegation, however, is not abdication of responsibility. Authority for performing managerial function of creating, planning organizing, motivating and control cannot be totally delegated, it is the up to the manager to sort thing out, to counsel or advice the staff concerned and to review his system of delegation.


These are guides to delegation of authority, and unless carefully recognized in practice, delegation may be ineffective. Organization may fail and managerial process may also be impeded.

The principles include the followings:

(i)                Scalar principle or functional clarity

(ii)             Span of control

(iii)           Principle of delegation by results expected

(iv)           Principle of absoluteness of responsibility

(v)             Principle of authority (authority-level)


This refers to line of authority from top to bottom of the organization. The clearer the line of authority from the ultimate management position in organizations to every sub-ordinate position, the clearer will be the responsibility for decision-making.


One of the major questions which has to be faced when considering the practical aspects of delegation is, how many subordinates or team members, can be effectively manager by employees reporting directly to one person. Smaller spans tend to be found among managerial, professional and technical groups. The more complex work is, the more better to report to a single superior, the smaller the problem of conflicting instructions and the greater the feeling of personal responsibility for results.

Principle of absoluteness of responsibility:

The responsibility of subordinates to their superiors for performance is absolute, and superiors cannot avoid responsibility for the organizational activities of their subordinates.

Authority –level principle:

This should not be considered without reference to responsibility. Maintenance of intended delegation requires that decision within the authority of individual manager should be made by them (managers) and not be referred upward in the organization structure.

The principle of functional definition:

The more a position or department has clear definition of results expected activities to be undertaken and informational relationship with other position individual contribution towards achieving objectives.

The principle of leadership facilitation:

The more an organization structure and its delegation of authority enable managers to design and maintain an environment for performance, the more they will help the leadership abilities of these managers.

The principle of flexibility:

The more flexible an organization structure, the more effective an organization can fulfill its purpose.


Managers cannot ordinarily before or against decentralization of authority. They may prefer to delegate authority or may like to make all the decision. Apart from individual factors in which most of them and beyond the control of individual managers the (managers) may resist their influences. But no successful manager can ignore these factors. Most organizations find the need to delegate forced on them by circumstances, especially the pressures on managers to concentrate on environment issues rather than on internal problems. However, the best practice is to be found in an organization that use delegation positively as an important employee motivator as well as a means of facilitating effective decision-making throughout the organization.

These factors are as follows:

(a)              Cast lines of the decision: The more costly the action to be decided on, the more probable that the decision will be taken at the top level of management. Cost may be reconciled directly as a company’s reputation, its competitive position or employee moral. Delegating authority does not mean delegating responsibility, therefore, managers prefer not to delegate authority for crucial matters (decisions).

(b)             Desire for uniformity of policy:  This refers to equity policy, that is, consistency and fairness to all.

(c)              Size and character of the organization: It is virtually impossible to run a large  organization effectively and efficiently while investing all decision-making authority in one or few top managers. Its an organization continues to grow in size and complexity, more decision areas will arises and for management to fully take advantage of these new areas, delegation may tend to increase. Therefore, the faster the rate of growth, the more likely it is for the top management level to cope with the ever increasing job forcing them (top management) to increase delegation of authority to the lower level management. But when organization growth is slow, the upper level under the disguise of  tightening control and protecting profit level.

(d)             His and culture of the organization: Whether authority will be decentralized frequently depends upon the way the business has been built. Businesses that expand from within show a market tendency to centralized authority while business that result from mergers and considerations are likely to show a definite tendency to retain delegation of authority, especially if the unit acquired is already operating profitably.

(e)              Management philosophy: Sometimes, top managers are would not to give up the activities and authority the enjoyed before they reached the top, or before the business expanded. The executive may see delegation as a way of organizational life that takes advantage of the desire of peoples to create, to be free and to have status.

(f)               Desire for independence:  Individuals and groups often desire a degree of independence from bosses who are far away.

(g)              Availability of Managers: Shortage of managers in organization would limit decentralization of authority, since in order to delegate, superiors must have qualified managers to whom to give authority. This scarcity of good or qualified managers are often used excuse for centralizing authority.

 (h)             Control technique:  A good manager at any level of the organization cannot delegate authority without having some knowledge of whether it will be used properly. This is because some managers do not know how to control, hence, unwilling to delegate.

 (i)                Environmental Influences:  This are influences from business environment outside the organization such as market characteristics availability of raw material, government policies and other social influences. These are very important because it is when managers choose the right strategy, which covers all these areas that opportunity will be opened for more avenue to be exploited, hence more room for delegation.


The reasons for delegation are mainly practical, but some are idealistic. The practical reasons are as follows:

(a)              Senior managers can be relieved of less important or less immediate, responsibilities in order to concentrate on more important duties.

(b)             Delegation enables decision to be taken nearer to the point of impact, and without the delays coursed by frequent upwards.

(c)              Delegation gives managers the opportunity to experience decision-making and the consequence of their decision.

(d)             Delegation encourages managers to learn how to cope with responsibilities.

(e)              Delegation enables organizations to meet changing conditions more flexibility, especially at the boundaries of their system. Idealistic reasons include he following

(f)               Delegation is a good thing for individual growth, and contributes to employee moral.

(g)              Delegation according to Peters, T (1988) is “the Sine gua non of empowerment”.

(h)             Delegation helps to enrich individuals jobs and humanizes work.


Often times, some intelligent managers fail to delegate. This could be as a result of one of the following reasons. Awareness of the as the first step in learning effective delegation is important:

i)                   The decision is too important: Obviously where a decision is of crucial important to the organization or department or even to the manager, that decision must be made by the individual manager.

ii)                The manager is reluctant to share powers:  Some managers do enjoy power and so feel uncomfortable when they delegates. They believe they are no longer incharge  when they delegate.

iii)              The manager is insecure: Individuals when lack confidence in their managerial ability or who are personally insecure are often reluctant to delegate to competent employees for fear that these managers fails to realize that their own performance level depend on the performance of their subordinates.

iv)              The manager is a perfectionist: Individuals who will want to know uncomfortable delegation.

v)                Subordinate lacks the ability to take on greater responsibility: Some managers prefer not to delegate because their subordinate are not capable of taking added responsibilities.

vi)              Subordinate are capable but do not desire added responsibilities: Some employee wish to develop and progress on the job while other are satisfied with their secured status, instead, they focus their lives on off the job pursuit.


The benefit of delegation of authority as it relates to decision-making process in an organization can be viewed from three perspective as following.

Benefit of delegation to organization:

(1)             It provides conformity and succession in the management hierarchy set up.

(2)             It minimizes the utilization of resources such as labour, time, and money for the organization.

(3)             It allows for the evaluation of subordinate for promotion in the organization.

Benefit of delegation to superior:

(1)             It unburdens the superior and allows the manager to engage in planning and development of their areas.

(2)             It gives managers more freedom and independence in decision-making.

(3)             It promotes the development of general managers.

Benefit of delegation to subordinate:

(1)             It gives room for self-development by the subordinate.

(2)             Delegation creates a sense of belonging, as the subordinates are involves in work process.

(3)             It helps subordinates to make better decision.


Decide what level of authority to grant . it is necessary to grant sufficient authority so as to make possible the accomplishment of goals.

Select the right person in light of the job to be done. Maintain open-line communication. There should be a free flow of information with which to make decision and to interpret properly authority delegated.

Establish, proper control delegation should be accompanied control with techniques to make sure the authority is properly used. Ensure that clears reporting arrangements are made. Provide any advice or future re-sourcing that may be required if as provide to be more difficult than anyone and first anticipated. Ensure that the objectives to be achieved are made clear……………………………………………………………………………………………..

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The Impact of Delegation on Management Decision Making

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  1. Itojo Barbie Stallion says:

    Its such an inspiring study, so well elaborated.i wish i could also get the effects of methods of delegation on the relationship between workers and supervisors.

  2. Okello Patrick says:

    I have like this because it can make those regid manager to let those who are willing to practice management to get trained Thank May God Bless All THOSE POST THIS AMEN

  3. please do extend the “definition of delegation by scholars ” till date, it’s very important in project writing now .

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