Delegation of Authority as a Management Strategy


Delegation is an aspect of the organizing process by which a manager assigns duties to other (for example his subordinate) responsibilities and commensurate authority necessary for  the attainment of certain objectives.  Some management theorist and many practicing managers consider delegation as an act which is of great importance in organization  a two way activity involving they giving and acceptance of responsibility and authority and some of its advantages stem from a widening  of the area of responsibility while some of this problems are related to the  psychological difficulties which can result form sharing of authority.

William Newman in his contributions is of the view that delegation of authority involves three steps.

  1. The first is the assignment of duties by an executive to his immediate subordinate.
  2. The granting of permission or authority make commitments use of resources and take certain actions necessary for the accomplishment of objective
  3. The creation of an obligation on the part of the subordinates to the elective for the satisfactory performance of the duties.


Delegation does not mean a total giving away or sun rendering   of authority. The delegation always retains the overall authority for the assigned duties. This is true whether he wish it to be so or not.  Delegation this implies granting of rights and approval for he delegates to act within the prescribed limits.  This clearly shows its dual characteristics.  He subordinates receive authority  from the superior and at the same time the superior still retains all of his original authority.  We can then like it to treading someone what you know. While the person taught acquires the  knowledge the teacher is till left  with his original knowledge.

When a production managers for example delegates to a subordinate manager have to label their container he is still responsible for what happens.  In his department in turn the authority that he exercise is delegation by the general manager or president who also had his authority from the board of directors. This situation establishment that in an organization there is always a chain of correlated authority extending from one management level to the next and reins through the entire structure.

Delegation is customarily  considered to descend from a higher level to the lower.  This is not necessarily true all  the time.  It can also run upwards laterally or side ways.  We are families with and downward delegation for instance whether the general manager delegates authority to a  department manager.  When a local government delegates  authority to a state government such a delegation is deserved to be upwards.  A lateral or horizontal or sideways delegation occurs when university delegates its authority to another or when one department delegates authority to another department within the company.

As a process management therefore implies many things.  Dynamic this defying rigid formula and orthodoxy.  It denotes activities continues through varying spans of time. Chances are likely to continue invading organizational life since the process is on going.  Lastly it implies    that the manager may be able to control and direct the nature and rate of changes within the organization up to a certain extent.

The management process is predicated on the various interactions of people that make  up the origination. Those who hold managerial positions at various level for example (Unilever Brother Nigeria PLC) are responsible for directing  influencing motivating guiding and controlling the performance of the subordinates as they work together towards achieving the corporate  objective. This means that the managerial behaviour should be goal- centered the organization’s work continues by this process of on going decision making planning action checking result etc.  this process that essentially describes management can be illustratively show diagrammatically blow

The process begins with problem definition and recognition which is referred to as perception.  This is followed by plan development.  Action will follow by plan and results will be checked against the plan by means of a feedback loop.  If this checking that will direct and justify further planning and or for changes.  And the process continues.

Management involves many interrelationship of people hence the process is largely social in nature. This is not to say that non human element are not important. An example of this nature includes financial assets machinery physical equipment technology etc.  but it is the human resources into production  and this supplies people with the necessities of life



  1. The manager makes the decision and announced it here the executives give his subordinate no company to participate directly in the decision making.  He decide what the problem is determines the possible course of action selects one of them and hen tells the subordinates to carry it out.  In making his decision he may or may not take into account how the employees will react to it.
  2. The manager sell his decision there is no difference between his point except that the mangers does try to persuade the subordinate to accept the decision. He recognizes that some employee may not like the decision and may try to inhibit so he is careful to make clear what they will again be accepting it.
  3. The manager presents his idea and invites question the difference between this and point 2 it that the manager gives the subordinates the opportunity to explore with him the implications of the decision. Instead of simple explaining why they should accept it he invites them to ask question and the takes the time to go into some detail about his thinking and his intentions.  At this point there are freedom for subordinates to begin to become significant
  4. The manager presents a tentative decision subject to change. Here for the first time the subordinate is given the opportunity explore with him the  implications of the decision.  Instead of simply explaining why  they should accept it he invites them   to ask questions and his intentions.  At this point in the continuum the area of freedom for subordinates begin to look significant
  5. The manager presents the problem get suggestion and then makes his decision. In point 4 above the manager in every case makes the decision himself although in 4 it is a tentative one in point 5 he ask subordinate for their opinions before he makes any decision final or tentative. He respect their knowledge of operating problem and knows that they may be able to suggest solutions that could not occur to him.  After evaluating their ideas as well as his own he selects the solution that he regard as most promising
  6. The manager defines the limits and request the group to make a decision. Here tool the manager delegates to his subordinate the authority to make a certain decision. He states exactly what the problem is and makes clear the restriction or what the employee can decide.
  7. The manager permits the group to make decision within prescribed limits. The difference between point 6 and 7 is that in 7 a general grant of decision making power is made into limited to any ones problem.  Also the only limits on what the group can do are those specified by the official to whom the team leader report. The leader may or may not himself participate in the making of the decision.  If he does he has no more authority himself in advance to support decision in the group



  1. How well does the delegates understand what they must do? This principles emphasizes that the more a position or a department has clear definitions of results expected activities to be undertakes organization authority delegated  and authority and informational relationships with other positions understood the more adequately the individuals responsibility can contribute towards accomplishing enterprise objectives this principles it must be remembered and also applies to departmentation .  managers requires intelligence  patience and clarity of objectives and plans before they can well defines a job and delegate authority to do it.  It is difficult if not impossible to define a job without knowing what results are desired.
  1. Unity of command this is a basic or fundamental management principle. Many managers however at times makes the mistake of disregarding it using the flusly excuse  (compelling circumstance) it stresses that the more completely an individual has a reporting relationship to a single superior the less the problem of conflict in instructions and the grater.  To prevents problems form being re-rooted upwards to the original offices of delegation.  It follows that the delegation to start with should not delegate authority that is above the position of the subordinates to him seen from the opposite angle managers should also desist form making decision for the subordinates who they know are capable of handing such matters.  Such an affair tends to demoralize the subordinate and induced them to always shift matters upwards even when they can make such decisions
  1. Does the delegate accept the duty as an escapable binding on him? This principle had already been discussed earlier on it stresses the fact that since we cannot use delegation an obligation the superior cannot use delegation to free himself from  culpability if the activities of the subordinate to whom he delegated authority bring a bad results.  In this view subordinate is  to realize that his responsibility to his boss for performance is absolutes.  As soon as he accepts an assignment and the authority  to carry its out he become bound to discharge such activities the implication is that the supervisor is always to be held accountable for the organization performance of the subordinate
  1. Scalar (chain of command) principle decision making and organization communication will be more effective if the re is a clear line of authority from the top to the last position  in the organization.  This is what this principle emphasized. The re is a fixed point where an organizational ultimate must reside every employee should know who his boss is and to whom he must refer matters that are above his position
  1. Is the delegate competent to handle the assignment. Koontz and Ononnel eloquently state that the maintenance of intended delegation requires that within the authority competence of individuals be made by them and not be referred upwards in the organization structure. This in effect encourages  mangers to make whatever  decision they can within the limits of their delegated authority.  Only the matter that authority limitations prevent should be referred upward for decision making
  1. Co-equality (parity) of authority and responsibility this principle was always briefly discussed earlier on it  emphasized that one’s responsibility for performance should not be great  or less than what is Implied in the  authority delegated to him. It has been agreed that authority is the right to perform some task and responsibility denotes obligation to  accomplish the task. Therefore authority has to correspond to the responsibility.   It is not a mathematical equality.  They penlake   to the same performance and therefore are coexistence

Finally forces in the manager forces in the subordinates forces in the situation helps in managerial behaviour



BY THE (TANN- ENBAUM AND SCHEIDT) Meaning that own preference based on history and experience.  It he the type who strangle believes that people should participate in decision that  affect them as individual? Or is he someone who has long been convinced that  the supervisor  must stoically assume the burden of making the decision himself because he is paid to do so how much confidence does he have in other people in general and in his present subordinates in particular. Some managers are so constituted that they become uneasy if there appears to be an element of risk and uncertainly in the operations they supervise. This kind of execution  is better off if he frankly acknowledge to himself that he is not the person to make delegations of authority.


This refers to the expectation of the employees as to how the supervisor should behave in his relations with them.  It also means that the personality requirements of each individual in the group as these has been upon the question of the kind of direction he responds to best the executive can allow greater freedom to subordinates under the following conditions:

  1. The subordinates have relatively high needs for independence
  2. They want to ensure responsibility rather than to avoid it
  3. They have a relatively high tolerance of ambiguity meaning they would rather receive broad instructions than held down by clear- out instructions.
  4. They are interested in the problem and believe that it is important
  5. They have the necessary knowledge and experience to be able to deal with the problem.
  6. The understand the goal of the organization and identify with them.
  7. They are accustomed to sharing in decision making this is what they expect and are prepared for rather than being derived such


If these conditions do not exits there may be no alternative to running a one man responsibility depending on his assessment  of these factors the executive may on one occasion decide to make the decisions himself on another to let the subordinates participate if the manager has the respect of the subordinates they will understand why in the one case he brings them in and on the other he does not.



This refers to the (critical environmental pressures) that surrounds the manager stemming from the organization the work group the nature of the problem and the  pressure of time.

As to the organization it has values and traditions that conditions the manger behaviours.  Someone newly appointed fro the outside (quickly) discovers that certain kinds of behaviours are approved while others are not. There is a great compulsion for him to select that kinds of behaviour on the continuum that conforms to his supervisors concept of how he should conduct himself. sometime  it is referred to as the management  climate.  In the agency of other words the lower ranking executives tend to intimate the behavious of  the higher ones the later are a very important part of the situation other organization factors influencing the extent of employee participation include the sizes of  the organization unit then geographical  distribution and whether or not information about work plans must be kept confidential.

Felix. A Nigeria said that group effectiveness is another consideration he gives a problem to the group to solve the manager must be  convinced that  it is equal to the task.  He the group functional effectively in the past? Does it seen confident of its ability to cope with this kinds of assignment? The nature of the problem also sets limits on the extent to which the manager can safely delegate perhaps the problem is one which the work group is not familiar so he must handle it himself there is no virtue in asking any subordinate or group of workers to take on responsibility they are not ready to assume yet the elective want to be sure that he is making full use of the special knowledge and abilities of  his staff.

Pressure of time meaning the need to act quickly may force the manager to make the decision himself   without consulting with his subordinate finally the manager does not by any means have full control of his time schedule his own supervisor sets deadlines for him

Unforeseen situation arises that makes it necessary for him to make the best decision possible in  very short period of time under such circumstance all he so is consult with as many subordinate as possible.



Some of the benefits of delegation according to William new man which accrue to the organizaiton is a whole come form the process of specialization and division of labour.  As a result of delegation both the delegate and subordinates may reap the advantages of specialization.

Decision making may be effective where the subordinate is needed to the  situation to which the delegated task refers to for example; a training and development in two widely separated divisions may with advantages delegate the consideration and resolution of day- to- day problems in those divisions to his two divisional subordinates a simple case of the geographical division of labour and its attendant advantages.

It has been claimed  that since delegation is necessary involves  in the dissemination of responsibility throughout the   organization it should result in better motivation and personal effectiveness of subordinates powers of judgment and an increase in the satisfaction which is said to follow on job embedment   management at middle and operating levels to whom authority has been delegated share in decision making and area of mutual trust are enlarged as delegate and subordinate work together  towards the attainment of objectives.

Delegation is said to lead to a widening of averseness of the general problems of the organization and a deepening of understanding on the  part of those whose duties have been widened if how the sub-units of the  enterprise are related to the whole. The advantages may be recapitulated first the delegate may be faced from over bad so that he can devote his  energies to as mall range of problems. This can result in swifter and more effective decision making and development of the abilities of subordinates who have to deal with a wider and deeper range of activities.  Extension of the area of decision making in which subordinates are expected to operate can produce a sharper understanding of the overall nature of the enterprise problem.

Finally there is that need for the manager to be conscious of the fact that he cannot possible do all things alone and hope to improve the status of the business.  He has to multiply himself. The delegate should not be made to sense fear and frustration. The delegate must first be quite clear of type of duties decisions  and assignment that the delegated must undertaken to avoid mistake and yield greater effectiveness


The process of delegation generates problems.  According to N. Maier and J. Thurber they said that a superior may be unwilling or unable to delegate to assume the novel role involved in the  acceptance of added responsibility. An unwillingness to delegate represent a major problems for the supervisor and organization as a whole. Psychological inner conflict may  effect or result in a feeling of general insecurity.

If I delegate to my subordinates, he may out shine me or discover my adequacies and force my resignation. There   may be an unwillingness to take risk. I don’t really know his capabilities he may fail in the task. I have delegated to him and I shall be held responsible. There may be decision of indispensability.  No one else in the firm can do my job. There may be s simple desire to dominate sharing of responsibility with anyone will diminish my authority in the firm. In the case of inability to delegate the supervisor may fail to understand the read nature of his overall responsibility so that he is unable to see how and  where a subordinate might render assistance in the discharge of that responsibility. He may lack the ability to direct his subordinates and may not know how to asses and evaluate a subordinates performance . he may be unable (or unwilling even if able) to provide the additional training needed by a subordinates  who is expected to perform a new range of task.


Subordinates to whom tasks are delegated to may experience a variety of psychological problems arising form insecurity the force of habit the fear of criticism in a new situation and the he anxieties attending a new role.  Lack of incentive for   assumption of added responsibilities may weaken desire to accept additional burden.

A subordinates may fear also that his authority is not  commensurate with his new responsibility. He may lack the training needed  to carry out the delegated task and may be aware of this.

None of this problems is incapable of solution according to William new man the  out of successful delegation is fortunately not rare.  It demands the establishing of clear objectives for subordinates training then decision making the establishing of effective and acceptable system of control the motivating subordinates and the giant of authority which is needed in the new situation. For the supervisor  who is  either unwilling or unable to carryout delegation training which explains its purpose its advantages and appropriate techniques is essential.




The company was incorporated in Nigeria as a private company in 1923 under the name lever Brothers (W.A) limited. This was changed to the west African soap company limited in 1924 and to lever Brothers Nigeria limited in 1955.  when the company went public in 1973 is assumed its formers name lever brothers Nigeria limited which was also later changed to Unilever (Nigeria)PLC

The company operates for factories located in a papa Aba Agbara and also Isolo they stated with the production of bar soap in 1924 which has since extended to include the production of international toilet soap brand such as lux, Astral and Asepso also induces are   insuring power as well as close-up tooth paste. The company in Agbrara is for the manufacturing of edible products such as plantar menageries industrial oil seasoning Royco etc   the other company at Isolo is in production of the popular Vaseline jelly petroleum jelly and pounds range of skin and hair care products.

The company has a staff strength of about 2500 employees spread over its four factories and personal department all over the federation




Unilever brothers has a highly centralized organization headed by the chairman/ managing  director assisted by the chairman and   a deputy managing director directly responsible to the office of the deputy chief executive are six executive directors each responsible for a division of the company.

The largest division is the sale division of the company.  It enjoy some form autonomy in the recruitment of certain grades of salesman for effective performance of its sales function the division is divided into sex areas each headed by area manager responsible for co-ordinating  the activities of the sales force directly under his control.  But decision which implications for overall corporate strategy and objectives are made at the headquarters for    the purpose of  co-ordination.

To achieve the companies objectives of maintaining its enviable market position  and profitability various incentive programmes  incentive of district ions and unique product development strategy are employed.

This company delegates duties accordingly chairman delegates to any of the managing director and they can delegates any of the departmental manager.  When this profit is made which is the primary objective of any business enterprise (ie. To make profit) . this makes it  possible for the enterprise to fiancé its operations pay its workers undertakes new investment etc.

It therefore follows that the continued existence of any business organization depends on low profitable it can be from the annual report and account of the company it could be see  that the company is one of the most profitable in this country.


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