Principles and Barriers of Delegation

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Why do Managers Delegate?

It is not always possible for a single individual to manage all the workload and execute the work. It is the same for the managers also. They delegate responsibilities and authorities among the workers so that the organizational objectives are met and at the same time a smooth performance is delivered. In this article, the principles and barriers of the delegation will be discussed along with helping you find the answer to why should managers delegate.


Why Should Managers Delegate?

A business performance involves not one or two functions rather a lot of activities. If the manager decides to take the responsibility of all of them, there are chances that he/she will be drained out physically, mentally, and emotionally and the work will be adversely affected.


Here lies the importance of delegation and the answer to why do managers delegate. As the number of subordinates increases, they can perform the task as allocated to them on behalf of the manager. In fact, the function of the manager is more managing people and ensuring work is being done than doing work himself. Therefore, to meet the prior set goals, managers need to delegate the duties among the subordinates.


There is another subtle answer to the question of why should managers delegate. It benefits the managers also in terms of receiving specialized knowledge from the subordinates regarding the particular task. This way, delegation appears to be an administrative technique essential for the organization.


What are the Principles and Barriers of Delegation?

Though there are multiple reasons as to why do managers delegate, one cannot avoid the principles of delegation or the barriers that come with it. Let us first discuss the principles that one must follow for successful delegation.

  1. Clarity of Delegation

After all, why should a manager delegate authority if there is no clarity? Also, if the delegatee does not understand his task clearly, he cannot deliver it also. Thus, ambiguity must be completely eliminated and subordinates, irrespective of their vertical or horizontal position in the organization should receive clear instruction. 

  1. No Responsibility Delegation

Even though you have the answers to why should a manager delegate authority, remember, a manager can never delegate his responsibilities or else the single chain of command gets disrupted and lack of clarity looms large regarding which task is whose responsibility.

  1. Result - Oriented Delegation

Even more important than why should a manager delegate is what should be the result of the delegation. The goals, plans and functions are set well beforehand in the organization and managers should delegate authority adequately so that the desired result can be attained.

  1. Exception Principle

When a manager delegates authority, decision-making also becomes the delegates' responsibility. But in exceptional cases, the delegatee might turn to the seniors for assistance in decision-making. The manager is never devoid of the authority of the whole task and thus delegation should be done accordingly.

  1. Unity to Command

To understand why a manager should delegate authority, the principle of unity of command should be strictly followed. According to this command, the chance of conflict is lesser when there is a single supervisor involved as the flow of command, direction or information is less complicated.


The barriers of the delegation are only a few. These are:

  • The manager lacking efficiency in directing people.

  • The behavioural trait of the manager refraining him from delegating.

  • Fear of losing power.

These are the basic principles and barriers of the delegation that you should know about before knowing why should a manager delegate in an organization. While the main focus remains on achieving the organizational goals, delegation is also important for the personal and professional development of both the manager and his subordinate.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Principle of Functional Definition?

Ans: As implemented in organizational management, the principle of functional definition depicts that if a department or a position in an organization has a clear idea about the results, tasks to perform, authority delegation and organizational relationship with various positions, then that department or the position can achieve the organizational goals more efficiently.


Working out this principle ensures that the individual departments develop simultaneously with the overall growth and development of the organization. Thus, it is necessary to group similar activities to attain the objectives. In each case, the managers vested with the responsibility of a particular department should monitor or supervise the activities.

2. What is the Scalar Principle?

Ans: The communication process and the process of decision-making, according to Scalar Principle, is more responsible and efficient in an organization if the line of authority is clarified along with the hierarchical order i.e. from the manager at the top to subordinate positions. This principle emphasizes the fact that there should be clarity regarding who is the authority, who delegates authority, whom to turn to in case of problems or if the things go out of hand etc. Only then, delegation can be effective and the business performance is efficient. Also, this way the communication will be clearer and the decision-making process will be equally efficient.

3. What is Span Management?

Ans: As it is not possible for one manager to manage all works, managing all subordinates at a time is also not possible by an individual manager. To ensure optimum output, there must be a limitation on the number of subordinates under the control or responsibility of a manager. This particular number of subordinates, as defined by individual organizations, is referred to as the Span of Control, or in other words, Span of Management. By the implementation of this, the managers can tackle the workforce and the tasks appropriately and manage effectively.