Here is a compilation of term papers on ‘Delegation of Authority’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on ‘Delegation of Authority’ especially written for school and college students.

Term Paper on Delegation of Authority

Term Paper Contents:

  1. Term Paper on the Meaning of Delegation
  2. Term Paper on the Elements of Delegation
  3. Term Paper on the Importance of Delegation
  4. Term Paper on the Principles of Delegation
  5. Term Paper on the Problems in Delegation
  6. Term Paper on the Guidelines for Effective Delegation

Term Paper # 1. Meaning of Delegation:

Delegation is the essence of good organisation. It is an administrative process of getting things done through others by sharing the authority with them. This is an inescapable process in industrial and other types of large scale enterprises.


Manager’s competence is not judged by the work he actually performs on his own but by his ability to obtain results through others. In large enterprises the manager’s efficiency is measured not by his personal ability but by his ability to multiply himself through other people. This implies delegation on his part to achieve results or performance of a standard from those to whom duties are transferred.

In every organisation formal authority vests with the owners. They delegate it to the chief executive at the top of the organisation. But he alone cannot perform all the activities of an organisation. So it is the duty of the management is to get the work done by others. It is, therefore, necessary to assign certain tasks to some other persons and to give them authority to accomplish the desired results. Thus the management at the top share its authority with the subordinates. Thus, the process to pass on certain tasks assigned to him to his subordinates in known as delegation of authority.

To strengthen this view we can rely on some of the important quotations given by authorities on management:

F.G. Moore states that “Delegation means assigning work to other and given them authority to do it.”


Koontz and O’ Donnel states that, “Authority is delegated when organisation power is vested in a subordinate by a superior.”

According to Louis A. Allen, “Delegation is the entrustment of responsibility and authority to another and the creation of accountability for performance.”

So delegation refers to the assignment of work to others and confers them with the authority to accomplish the job assigned. It involves granting the right to decision making in certain defined areas and charging the subordinates with the responsibility for carrying out the assigned task.

It obviously means devolution of authority on subordinates with a view to make them perform an assigned duty. It implies a direction to others to do a particular duty which the so delegating would have been required to do by himself. It also implies that the person who delegates should see that the subordinate to whom authority is delegated performs the work properly by due exercise of authority.


After defining delegation now we move to its features:

(a) Authorisation to a Manager:

Delegation authorises a manager to perform on behalf of top management. Delegation defines the limits within which a subordinate has to perform.

(b) Delegation has Dual Characteristics:


The dual characteristics are:

(i) A subordinate receiving authority from his superior.

(ii) Superior’s authority is not reduced by sharing it as he is ultimately responsible for performance.

(iii) Authority once delegated can be enhanced, reduced or withdrawn based on situation and requirement.


(iv) Delegation of authority is always to the position created through the process of organising. An individual may exercise his authority so long as he holds the position and no more. As soon as leaves the position, the authority is revoked.

(v) A manager cannot delegate authority which he himself does not possess or what is not vested with him. Further only a part of the authority is delegated and he cannot delegate the entire authority.

(vi) Delegation may be general or specific. It becomes specific when courses of action for particular objectives are specified. It is general, when these are not specified. Delegation may also be formal or informal written or implied.

(vii) The extent of authority depends on several factors like the ability of the executive to delegate, the ability of the subordinate to accept delegation, the philosophy of the management, the confidence of the superior in the subordinate etc.


(viii) Delegation does not mean abdication of responsibility. No manager can escape from his obligation by delegating authority to subordinates. As the ultimate responsibility for performance vests the delegator he has to monitor performance and satisfy himself that performance is in right direction or not.

Term Paper # 2. Elements of Delegation:

The process of Delegation involves three elements.

They are:

(a) The entrustment of responsibility (duties or work) to another for performance.


(b) Granting of authority to make use of resources, take necessary decisions and carry out the responsibility.

(c) Creation of an obligation or accountability on the part of the person accepting the delegation to perform in terms of the standard established.

(a) Responsibility or Duty:

This is the first step in delegation. Duty means the activities or tasks which the subordinate is expected to perform by virtue of his position in the organisation. Responsibility is the duty or work assigned to a person of defined position.

In essence it means the description of a role a subordinate is required to play in an organisation. In other words this means the process of grouping of activities and assigning them to an individual for performance. Assignment of duties means indication by the diligent as to what the subordinate is expected to perform.

These duties may be related to taking a decision, formulation of policies, approval of a budget etc. Duties may also be expressed in terms of results to be achieved like fixation of targets in connection with production or sales.

Quantitative expression of duties result in helping the superiors to evaluate the performance of subordinates and the subordinates will know the job to be performed by them. Duties expressed in terms of functions and responsibility and in terms of results to be realised form the basis of the delegatory process.


The features of responsibility are:

(a) Responsibility can be assigned to human beings only.

(b) It arises from superior-subordinate relationship.

(c) It may be a continuing obligation or may be confined to simple function.

(d) It may be defined in terms of functions, targets or goals.

(e) It is alternative of authority


(f) If flows upwards.

Responsibility and Delegation:

(a) Responsibility is assumed and it flows from authority

(b) On delegation responsibility is also delegated by superior to his subordinates.

(c) On delegation responsibility to perform certain tasks has been assumed by subordinates.

(b) Authority:

Authority is the right or power granted to an individual to facilitate the performance of the assigned.


The various authorities or management define this term in the following way:

Henri Fayol “The right to give orders and the power to exact obedience”.

Koontz O’Doonell “Authority is the power to command others, to act or not to act in a manner deemed by the possessor of authority to further enterprise or departmental purpose.”

Louis. A. Allen “The sum of the powers and rights entrusted to make possible the performance of the work delegated.”

Based on these definitions the features of authority can be listed:

(a) Authority is legal and legitimate.


(b) Authority gives the right the right to decide.

(c) Authority is used to achieve the organisational goals.

(d) Authority is the relationship between individuals (Superior and subordinate).

(e) Authority is the key to managerial job.

(f) Authority is objective but its exercise may be subjective.

(g) Authority is not unlimited. It is limited by a number of internal and external factors.


(f) It flows downwards and decreases at each successive lower levels.

Sources of Authority:

Sources of authority means where the authority originates. Some management experts opine that it originates at the top and flows downward. Some others are of the view that authority originates at the bottom and flows upward as a kind of consent of the subordinates.

In management Literature there are three important theories on authority.

They are:

(a) Formal authority Theory

(b) Acceptance Theory

(c) Competence Theory.

Let us discuss these theories:

(a) Formal Authority Theory:

Other names: Traditional authority or legitimate authority. According to this theory, authority originates at the top and flows downward through the process of delegation. The organisation and Laws of the land gives authority to the top executive. In India, the Companies Act. 1956, gives the authority to the shareholders. They entrust the management of the company to the Board of Directors who in turn delegate it to the chief executive the chief executive delegates his authority to the departmental heads and so on.

Thus authority is concentrated at the top which flows downward along the scalar chain in the organisation. In diminishes at each successive level. Everyone thus holds authority by virtue of his position in the organisation. The subordinate is to obey the authority and he will be punished for non­compliance of the authority. Therefore, this is known as formal authority or traditional authority or legitimate authority.

(b) Acceptance Theory:

This theory states that authority is that power which is accepted by the subordinates.

Formal is nothing if it is not accepted by the subordinates. The degree of its effectiveness can be measured by the willingness of the subordinates to accept it. Right to command depends on whether or not the subordinates can obey their superior or not. In essence this theory advocates that the managers possess real authority or not is determined unless or otherwise the authority is acceptable to the subordinates.

This theory was advocated by Chester Barnard, Mary Parker Follett and Herbert Simon.

Barnard is of the opinion that the subordinate shall accept the orders when:

(i) The orders are clearly understandable to subordinates.

(ii) Orders are not in inconsistent with the organisational goals.

(iii) Orders are compatible with the purposes of the recipient subordinate.

(iv) The recipient subordinate is mentally and physically able to comply with directives.

These conditions are cumulative and must be fulfilled simultaneously. Only then it can be said that a manager able to comply with directives.

But this theory is subject to certain limitations. They are:

(i) The mainstay of this theory is that authority must be accepted by the subordinates. This is a manager can a certain only when he exercises his authority. If his authority is not accepted the superior has the power to withhold or grant rewards/penalties as the case may be. This situation exposes the unreal characteristics of the theory.

(ii) There is an implied understanding that a subordinate must agree to obey his superior. If it so, it is acceptance. This theory has no place then.

(iii) Thirdly, when a subordinate enjoys the right to confer authority, he must also have the right to sanction. But in reality it is not so.

(iv) This theory totally disregards the powerful sanction and effect of social institution on the authority. Nobody can deny the impact of legal and social institution on the authority.

(c) Competence Theory:

This theory advocates that a manager gets his orders accepted because of his technical competence or personal authority. The manager derives authority from his personal competence and charisma. Formal authority is conferred on individuals by the organisation because of his competence and special knowledge in certain areas. This is known as technical authority. Some managers gets personal authority because of his superiors or his own popularity. This is called informal authority. In some social groups people with charisma have the same authority.

So authority may be classified as authority of competence, of knowledge, of position, Legal authority, of formal and ultimate authority. Thus the three theories on authority consider authority from different viewpoints.

The terms authority and power are to be differentiated to have a better understanding. Power and authority can influence the behaviour of subordinates but the terms are different.

(i) Authority is the right to do something but power is the ability to do something.

(ii) Authority is the legitimate power as there is always a legal sanction with it. But power is known as the workable authority because it refers to ability of the manager to do something or to get the intended results. This may not have legal sanction.

Authority and Delegation:

a) Adequate authority is to be delegated to specialists to improve deficiencies in planning and operation of the undertaking.

b) Authority delegated should be commensurate with the position or status of the persons concerned. This is known as Parity Principle of organisation.

c) Authority delegated should be within the framework of overall policies of the organisation and it should be within the ambit of law of the land.

(c) Accountability:

Accountability is the reporting on the performance of responsibility. It is an obligation cast on an individual to whom authority is delegated to complete the task assigned to him and to report to the management for the attainment of specific results. Delegation becomes a complete and perfect process only when the subordinate reports about the extent of his performance regarding the duties allocated to him.

Louis. A. Allen has defined accountability as the “obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority in terms of performance standards established.”

For evaluating the performance of the subordinates the management should fix the standards to be achieved by him.

It is the logical derivative of authority and responsibility. It is the obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority in terms of performance standards established by a superior. Accountability means answerable to one’s own activities or conducts or results achieved. The extent of accountability depends upon the extent of delegation of authority and responsibility. A person can be held responsible for the tasks not assigned to him by his superior.

The features of accountability are:

(a) It is the responsibility grafted on an individual to achieve objectives by the use of delegated authority.

(b) Accountability cannot be delegated. Neither the delegator nor delegate can escape accountability.

(c) It always has upward flow. Duties are delegated downwards while report about actual performance moves vertically towards higher authorities.

(d) Accountability is commensurate with authority and responsibility as it is a logical derivate of both. It is stated to be of same quality, quantity and weight of the accompanying responsibility and authority.

(e) It is unitary. A subordinate should be made accountable only to one superior for delegated authority. This avoids confusion and conflict that would result from reporting to more than one superior.

Differences between the Elements of Delegation:

The three elements of delegation authority, responsibility and accountability are interrelated. These terms are to be differentiated.

The differences are:

(a) Meaning:

Authority denotes granting of power. Responsibility indicates satisfactory completion of obligation.

Accountability refers to the answered ability of the subordinate to the superior.

(b) Nature:

Authority is assumed and accountability is imposed. Authority is the medium for creating responsibility and for imposing accountability. Authority and responsibility follow each other and they must be co-extensive and co-terminus. They move together. Similarly accountability follows authority and responsibility.

(c) Movement and Evaluation:

Authority and responsibility move downwards but accountability move upwards. The performance of the subordinate is evaluated based on answerability of the performer in the light of pre-determined standards. To conclude, these three elements are interdependent and inseparable. According to W.H. Newman, “These three inevitable attributes of delegation are like a three legged stool each depends on others to support the whole and no two can stand alone.”

Term Paper # 3. Importance of Delegation:

The importance of delegation may be identified in the following facts:

(a) Delegation is the dynamics of management and the essence of sound organisation. The top manager and managers at various levels cannot manage and control everything in the organisation due to various limitations. They have to divide the workload and share the responsibility with his subordinates. When a man’s job grows beyond his capacity he must share it into subordinates for successful performance.

(b) Delegation has been widely recognised as art of getting things done in the best possible manner. By delegating the workload the superior relieved of his routine matters. Thus it ensures administrative convenience.

(c) Delegation of authority is a process by which the organisation’s formal right to command vested with the top management is partially passed on to the lower level of authority. This way the authority responsibility relationship is tied together in the organisation. Further it paves way for the defined functioning of the managers.

(d) Delegation facilitates quick decisions in the organisation because the authority has been distributed to so many people at various levels. Granting of authority to subordinates motivates them to perform well.

(e) Delegation helps in maintaining healthy relationship between the executive and his subordinates, this promotes interaction and healthy understanding between managers and subordinates. It is the best technique for improving job satisfaction, motivation and morale of subordinates. It helps to satisfy their needs for recognition, responsibility and freedom.

(f) Delegation lightens the burden of key officers in tackling routine matters and enables them to concentrate on vital issues. Delegation is the key to efficiency by proper allocation of duties clothed with authority on the basis of specialisation. It stimulates subordinates to turn out better work as it has tonic effect on the psychology of subordinates.

(g) Delegation provides an aid to executive development. The managers at the lower levels are allowed to participate in administration. This gives them valuable experience in decision making. This gives an opportunity for the lower level to exhibit their capabilities and the higher level to identify potentials which will be helpful in promotions.

This prepares the lower level to assume responsibilities in the case of diversification and expansion. Without delegation no organisation can grow. Thus delegation of authority is the key to the success of the organisation.

Term Paper # 4. Principles of Delegation:

Delegation must be effective otherwise it will pose several serious problems and undesirable consequences.

So to make it effective certain principles are to be followed. They are:

(i) Principle of Functional Definition:

This means the organisation should be functionally departmentalized and the manager of each sub-division must have authority to co-ordinate its activities with the organisation. This can be attempted by clear definition of goals, results expected, activities to be undertaken, organisational delegation, clearly defining the roles to be played at various levels for achieving objectives. In most cases this requires patience, intelligence and clarity of objectives and plans.

(ii) Scalar Principle:

This principle refers to the chain of direct authority relationship between superior and subordinates throughout the organisation. To make delegation effective every subordinate must know by whom the authority has been delegated to him and to whom he has to refer to for ratification and reporting.

(iii) Authority Level Principle:

This implies delegation of decision making authority to the competent managers at some level. For an effective delegation of authority, delegation should not only be clear but must also be well understood by the subordinates.

(iv) Principles of Unity of Command:

This means the subordinates should be reporting to a single superior. No manager can function efficiency if he did not how the total authority to hold his subordinate responsible. No subordinate can serve many masters.

(v) Principle of Delegation by Results Expected:

Delegation by results implies that goals have been set and plans made, that these are communicated and understood and that jobs have been set up to fit in with them.

(vi) Principle of Absoluteness of Responsibility:

In delegation, the superior continues to remain responsible for the activities of the subordinates as his responsibility for performance cannot be delegated. Similarly, the responsibility of the subordinate to his superior is absolute if he has accepted an assignment and has the power to carry it out.

(vii) Parity Principle:

Authority is the power to carry out assignments and responsibility is the obligation to accomplish them, it logically follows that authority must correspond with responsibility. They have logical relationship to each other from the point of administrative feasibility and operational or functional possibilities. They are co-extensive and co-terminus. Balance between them will make delegation more meaningful and fruitful.

The minor principles of delegation are:

(a) Interference of superiors must be minimum.

(b) Tolerance of mistakes.

(c) Adequate control should be established.

(d) Goals should be predetermined.

(e) Policies, rules, and procedures should be established to guide decisions.

(f) Upward delegation should not be allowed and delegation should be rewarded.

Term Paper # 5. Problems in Delegation:

Delegation is an essential element of effective management. Delegation is facilitated only when a favourable climate is first established by top management. This can be achieved delegating adequate authority. Inadequate delegation will create many serious problems. In practice, there are several factors which prevent effective delegation.

The obstacles in delegation may be classified into three categories:

(i) On the part of delegator

(ii) On the part of delegatee

(iii) On the part of organisation.

(i) On the Part of Delegator:

The quality of superior manager plays an important role in determining the kind of functional and social equilibrium that is achieved in organisations by delegation of authority. In many cases the superior may be reluctant to delegate authority to subordinates.

The possible reasons are:

(a) Passion for Authority:

Some managers feel that they should not go in delegation as they feel that delegation results in reducing their influences in the organisation. They always want their presence to be felt and desire that subordinates should call on them frequently to decide issues. Desires of these types keep the managers away from delegation of authority.

(b) Lack of Receptiveness:

Some managers feel that none can do the job better than themselves. Further they feel work will not be executed properly if it is performed by others. They don’t want to give other people’s ideas a chance. They also have a psychological block that “I can do it better myself” obstructs delegation of authority.

(c) Lack of Trust in Subordinates:

Delegation implies a trust in the potentials of subordinates. Lack of confidence, in their capacity, ability and dependability of the subordinates prevents the superior from delegating authority.

(d) Lack of Control:

For effective delegation there should be adequate control and effective communication to the subordinates. This is to ensure that the authority delegated to subordinates is properly used for achieving the given tasks. Absence of adequate control and poor communication may not enthuse the manager to delegate.

(e) Fear of Subordinates:

A manager may not delegate adequate authority because of the fear of his subordinates on two grounds. Firstly, given an opportunity the subordinates may perform better and may try to steal a march over his superiors. Secondly, if the potentials of the subordinate is proved and he is promoted the superior may loose an efficient subordinate. So the fears of loosing importance and the loosing the subordinate may prevent the manager from going in for delegation.

(f) Incompetence of Superiors:

An incompetent superior may hesitate to delegate his authority as he may get exposed for his faulty approaches. So he wants to keep all authority to himself.

(ii) On the Part of Delegate:

Not only the superior but subordinates also hesitate in taking up delegation. They may not be willing to shoulder responsibility though the superior is willing to delegate authority.

The reluctancy on the part of the subordinate to accept authority may arise due to the following reasons. They are:

(a) Lack of Self-Confidence:

Due to lack of self-confidence the subordinate may refuse to take up responsibility. This is due to the reason that he is not mentally prepared to face the out come or he thinks he is not competent enough to bear the responsibility. So either the fear of facing criticism or negative attitude of management of punishing individuals committing mistakes may be strong deterrent in his mind. Further negative performance evaluation may deter him from sharing responsibility.

(b) Dependence on Boss:

Some subordinates want to play safe by depending on the boss for all decisions. If a subordinate thinks that in case of trouble he may approach the boss and make him to find out solution to the problems.

(c) Fear of Criticism:

In delegation subordinate may think credit for success is stolen by the superior while the subordinate will be criticised for failure. In any case he will be a loser. So the subordinate avoids accepting delegation.

(d) Lack of Information and Resources:

A subordinate may not be taking up delegation due to insufficient resources at his command to complete the assigned job satisfactorily. The absence of necessary information regarding delegation refers to indefinite or vague instructions given to employees. These reasons may prevent the employees in accepting delegation.

(e) Over-Burdened:

Sometimes subordinates are unwilling to accept additional responsibility unless they have some incentive in performing the additional job. Moreover, they may be over-burdened with responsibilities and they may stay away from accepting additional responsibility.

(iii) Regarding the Organisation:

Organisational weakness may hamper the delegation of authority due to inadequate planning, splintered authority, lack of unity of command, absence of adequate control techniques, non-availability of competent managers, unclear authority relationship.

Term Paper # 6. Guidelines for Effective Delegation:

The management is to practice the art of delegation scientifically and skillfully. The basic step in delegation for the manager is to analyse the nature and contents of the job and determine what should be delegated and what should be reserved for himself. The manager can safely delegate duties which can be better performed by the subordinates. He should not at the same time cast aside his vital responsibility for critical decisions by wholesale delegation of authority to the subordinates.

Delegation is facilitated if a favourable climate is first established by top management. So the manager who wishes to delegate must prepare himself psychologically so that he can relinquish part of his responsibility and authority with freedom and assurance.

Louis. A. Allen mentions the following guidelines for making delegation effective:

(i) Establishment of Goals:

Successful delegation is marked by pre­fixed objectives. They should know well in advance the role they are going to play in the achievement of objectives.

(ii) Definite Responsibility:

Delegation will be effective only when management clearly defines the scope of authority and fixes the focus of re­sponsibility. This must be in writing.

(iii) Motivating the Subordinates:

Motivation of subordinates must be there for successful delegation. Management is to provide for material and psychological incentives to the sob-ordinates so that they are spontaneously propelled to accept the delegated responsibility and duly exercise the authority entrusted to them.

This may be in the form of higher wages, bonus, promotions, better position etc. This has been aptly summarized by Koontz and O’Donnell who has observed, “Manager should be over watchful of rewarding both effective delegation and effective assumption of authority.”

(iv) Training the Subordinates:

This is considered as one of the significant methods to ensure successful delegation. Recruitment should be made on a rational basis keeping in view the responsibility and authority to be delegated. Selection of the right person cannot be ignored in avoiding the possible failure of delegation.

The new recruit must be exposed to training with the object of familiarizing the newcomer about the job, teach him the technique of quick and efficient disposal of tasks and develops his leadership qualities, initiative, confidence and judgement. Training in the case of existing employees instills confidence in their minds and removes the diffidence in their minds regarding their ability to be made equal to the task expected of them.

Further training involves performance appraisal which facilitates the employee to know where he stands or how he performs in the light of the established standards. This is done with the object overcoming their shortcomings and consolidation of their capabilities. Training involves counselling and coaching.

By counselling the subordinates are helped to improve their knowledge, skill workmanship, executive ability etc., coaching is done by the manager to help the subordinates to improve their ability to accept delegation. They demonstrate to the subordinates the best way of performance, deciding issues, giving directions and controlling performance.

(v) Establish Adequate Controls:

The object of delegation to secure results the efforts and abilities of others. It is the duty of the manager to set up control mechanism to check up the performance of the subordinates. The deviations are to be identified and the explanation of the subordinate should be followed by corrective steps. This will make delegation perfect and fruitful.

(vi) Communication:

Lines of communication must be kept open from superior to subordinate and vice versa for delegation to be meaningful. Prompts passing of information by the boss to the subordinate should be done promptly. The subordinate should also feel free to get in touch with the superior as and when necessary for clarification and guidance.

(vii) Principles of Delegation:

Like parity of authority and responsibility, unity of command and absoluteness of accountability are to be followed strictly for achieving effective delegation.

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