Chapter 14: DELEGATION, SUPERVISION, LINE & STAFF
Introduction to Delegation
Principles of hierarchy binds together the different units of
the organization with a continuous chain of authority. The
essence of the principle is delegation of authority.
- Assignment of duties by superior to subordinate.
- Granting of authority by delegator to subordinate.
- Creation of an obligation i.e. subordinate becomes duty
- No further delegation by subordinate to his subordinate.
Mary Parker Follet "Authority belongs to the
job and stays with it, hence one who does the job has the
authority even if superiors doesn't like it. Delegation of
authority is obsolete.
Types of Delegation:
- Downward [Higher to lower] ,
Upward [when lower to upper i.e. shareholders
to board], Sideward [one department to
- Outward: When authority is given to outside body not
under the influence of the delegator i.e. adhoc committee.
- Permanent and temporary
- Full [When complete power to take
decision is given], Partial [When
important aspects of job still need consultation].
- Conditional or unconditional: Depends
on whether action of delegatee is subject to control,
confirmation by delegator.
- Formal, informal: Based on written
rules or customs and conventions.
- Direct and intermediate: Depends on
whether a third party is involved.
- To reduce burden on superior. To avoid delay in
- To train subordinates in art of sharing responsibility.
- To develop second line of leadership
- De-congestion at the top.
- Overcome complexity in procedures by delegation to
- Certain work can't be delegated like supervising work of
- Sanction expenditure above certain amount.
- Power to sanction new policies.
- Making of rules and regulations.
- Hear appeals against subordinates and make higher
- No well established procedures.
- Unstable, non repetitive work
- Lack of internal communication
- Centralized requirements of programs
- Small size of organization
- Incompetent lower personnel
- Few precedents
- Those who rise to top have big ego. Suspicious of
juniors and lack of trust.
- Don't know how to delegate
- Political consideration; Cant delegate symbols of
- Impatient with slow pace of work of subordinates.
Effective Delegation Principles:
- Specific written rules.
- Delegation to a position not person
- Competence of subordinates must be considered
- Planning , follow chain of command
- Open communication and reporting
- Backed by resources
- Performance appraisal
Introduction to Supervision
Overseeing work of subordinates. Guiding, directing efforts
of employees to accomplish goals.
Phases and Aspects
Marx: Technical means "He should know
techniques and know how of his work". Objective means " He
should know policies and procedures as per which work should
be done". Human means "Motivate workers to perform their
Millet: To achieve coordination among
different parts of an agency. Ensure each unit accomplishes
the task that it is asigned.
- Assign right person to job and motivate him.
- Performance appraisal.
- Fitting each person in group, administering corrections
- Division of work; Planning and execution.
- Dealing with suggestions and complaints.
Types of supervisions:
- Single [based on unity of command] and
plural [based on separation of technical
and administrative supervision].
- Line [Direct, authoritative, advisory]
and Functional [Done by specialists in
- Substantive [Deals with actual work
done by an agency] and Technical
[methods used to do it].
Techniques of supervision:
- Prior approval of individual projects if taking
initiative outside framework of policy. This enables HQ to
get information about the units intentions and get control
- Promulgation of service standard: Prescribes standards
and targets to ensure prompt, proper work by agencies.
- Budgetary limits on operations of local units gives them
operational flexibility to an extent.
- Approval of subordinates work
- Evaluate work reported by field units.
- Inspection of results.
Qualities of a supervisor:
- Expert knowledge of work.
- Good personal qualifications
- Ability to communicate ideas
- Inspiration to others.
- Take decisions and be responsible
- Good intellectual ability
Likert's Supervisory Style
|exert heavy pressure to get work done
||little pressure on subordinates
|have little confidence in subordinates
||earn and get confidence of subordinates
|less freedom to subordinates
||subordinates can work at own pace
|no participation of subordinates in decision making
||maximum participation of subordinates in decision
|punitive and critical
||helps subordinates in problems
|devote more attention to 'work' job.
Line and Staff
Administration organization in government are of three
Line: Work directly to achieve organizations
purpose. Accomplish goals, make decisions, issue orders and
directives. Provide services, regulate conduct, collect taxes.
Interpreting and defending policy and operations. It is the
primary agency. E.g: Departments, Companies, regulators and
Staff: Assist line in their work. They are
to enhance effectiveness of line agencies. They are concerned
with reformulation of policies and revision of organization as
per needs. They are the eyes and ears of the CEO and advice
him on administrative work and technical work. E.g: PMO,
Cabinet secretariat, planning commission.
- Assistance to line agencies.
- Contact, planning, liaison.
- See that CEO's decisions are implemented by agencies.
Collect provide information to CEO and do research and
- Don't make decisions but advice to influence authority.
Auxiliary: Maintenance of existing
organization. Provide housekeeping services. They have
operating responsibility. They also make decisions, exercise
authority and come in contact with people within their own
spheres. But they have less functions then staff agencies.
E.g: Law ministry, UPSC.
Line and Staff conflicts: Staff agencies are
closer to CEO so usurp power. They discover more work and
procedures in line. They have ivory tower approach and have
higher targets as they are unconcerned with implementations.
Line officials disown failures for not reaching targets to
staff agencies. To resolve conflicts line and staff agencies
should have better coordination, exchange of personnel and
training in each others work.