Delegation of Authority: The term authority implies power derived from office or character or prestige. The person or agency having authority is powerful enough to do something since he has been authorized by a competent agency to do a certain job. Authority can also be defined as the sum of the powers and rights entrusted to make possible the performance of the work. Possession of authority means responsible for action. Some attributes are associated with authority. These are ability to give reward, inflict, punishment, censor subordinates, use commands and the like.
We may define delegation as the assignment of work to another by giving him formal authority and responsibility for carrying out specific activities. When the authority hands over certain power to its lower unit, the higher authority is said to be delegated certain power. The delegator does not surrender his overall responsibility, but retains the power of control. He can even revoke his delegation and take back all the authority.
a) Delegation of Authority in Libraries: Every library is a part of a larger organization or a parent organization. The power and authority of the library are derived from that larger or parent body. Public libraries derive the power and authority from the government under library act and related regulation. Academic libraries derive the power and authority from the academic institution, they are attached to. The university library gets them from the university executive council under the university act and regulation. A college library gets it from the governing body of the college. Special libraries get power and authority from the organization they are related with. More or less the administrative patterns are same in all types of libraries. The power and authority assign to the library directly comes to the librarian. So by getting authority the librarian is empowered to take any decision, implement it, assign work to subordinate, review and assess their performance, take steps if performance does not comes to desires level and to act accordingly whenever any situation arise.
The librarian himself cannot supervise all the works of the library at all levels. He cannot make everybody responsible for the work and performance of all the employees in the library. Therefore he delegates the power and authority he has inherited. The librarian surrenders some of his power to his immediate subordinates i.e. Deputy Librarian, Assistant Librarian and also to Section Head for smooth disposal of work with higher sense of responsibility.
b) Significance of Delegation of Authority: The delegation of authority has the following significance.
i) Democratic setup: Complete centralization is against the very sprit of modern democratic set up. So to avoid it, delegation is implemented.
ii) Proper coordination: Since by delegation of authority the aims and objectives of the library can be brought to the lower group so it helps to achieve proper coordination to fulfill the objectives of the library.
iii) Share the burden: Delegation of authority helps the librarian to share his burden with others. By delegation of authority he can multiply himself.
iv) Important managerial practice: Delegation of authority is an important managerial practice of getting things done through others by sharing authority with them.
v) Fixation of responsibility: Delegation of authority helps in the assignment of task or exact fixation of responsibility for failure or success.
vi) Time saving: The precious time of the executive is saved otherwise wastage will take place in taking decision on every minute points which can be otherwise effectively handled by his subordinate.
vii) Better decision making: Delegation of power to the section head helps in better decision making since the head is professionally qualified in his field.
viii) Increase confidence: Delegation of authority increases the confidence of the person to whom authority is delegated.
ix) Effective: By delegation of authority unnecessary delay in taking decision, wastage of money, energy can be avoided.
c) Problems in Delegation of Authority: In the delegation of authority the following problems may arise
i) Lower the prestige: The person to whom the authority is delegated sometimes takes hasty decisions which lower the prestige of the actual authority.
ii) Lack of independent decision: The subordinate is easy to approach by his subordinate and so may be influenced by interested person or parties and thus may not be able to arrive at an independent decision.
iii) Local feelings: The person may be overwhelmed by the local feelings and so large interest may be sacrificed.
iv) Lack of suitable person: Sometimes an area may lack a really capable person so in-efficiency will be the result.