Authority and Responsibility

Authority: Supreme coordinating power that provides a legitimacy to the organizational structure. Sources are law, constitution, judicial decisions, tradition, organizational norms, codes; Delegation.

Administrators need authority in the following areas to discharge their duties effectively, to decide objectives, purpose of activities, to create an organization structure to execute programs effectively, determine budget and personnel management.

In administration, authority is of three types:

  1. Political: responsibility to legislature
  2. Institutional: Towards public welfare, interest
  3. Professional: Towards code of ethics and standards.

Theories of Authority

  1. Weber's Positional theory of authority: Authority is willing, unconditional compliance of people resting upon the belief that its legitimate for superiors to impose will on them and illegitimate for them to disobey.
  2. Fayol's "Power to exact obedience and right to give orders": Both view authority as attribute of position in the organization and not individual members.
  3. Acceptance Theory: Subordinate shall accept orders under certain conditions. Thus the basis of legitimacy of the superiors authority is the acceptance tended by the subordinate.


Obligation of a person to achieve results mutually determined by means of participation by his superiors and himself.


It is the first principle of organization that includes within itself all other principles that are subordinate to it through which it operates. It's not an activity but a condition that should permeate all phases of organization.

Positive: Bringing cooperation and teamwork among people, units in an organization.

Negative: Remove conflicts, inconsistencies, friction, overlapping , working at cross purpose among persons or units in an organization.

Coordination is synchronization and cooperation is collectivization of people towards a common goal.


  1. Internal and External: Coordination between entities in an organization [functional] and coordination between entities of an organization i.e structural.
  2. Horizontal and perpendicular:Coordination between 2 divisions, branches, departments is horizontal. Vertical is between 1 division and 1 branch.
  3. Procedural is exemplified by design of an organization i.e. establish lines of authority, delimit spheres of activity, specify relationship between members and substantive is content of organization activities.


  1. Planning
  2. Meeting and conferences.
  3. Standard of procedures
  4. Centralized house keeping
  5. Verbal, written communication. Hierarchy in an organization.


  1. Avoid conflict, duplication of work, ensure economy.
  2. Curtails tendency of employees to attach too much importance to own work and De-emphasize other.
  3. Prevent empire building.
  4. Check narrow perspective of specialists.
  5. To meet requirements of growing number of organizational units.

Theory of Coordination

Gulick: Interrelating different parts of work is coordination. Develop a common objective in the minds of people working together in an organization. Size and time are limiting factors in coordination.

Follet: Coordination is a continuous process from planning to activity and activity to further planning. Coordination is harmonious ordering of parts. This is done by involving concerned people in policy making in initial stages of work.

Thompson: Inter dependencies exist in an organization like organization has many autonomous units but entire organization performance depends on overall performance of these units, output of one unit can be input for other. Output of one set of units can be input for others. Such inter dependencies can be handled by standardization, coordination by plan and mutual adjustments.

Cleveland: There should be deliberate planning to create hindrances and conflicts in jurisdictions of various units. Such conflicts relate to public interest.