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Delegation (or deputation) is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work.

Delegation empowers a subordinate to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work. In general, delegation is good and can save money and time, help in building skills, and motivate people. Poor delegation, on the other hand, might cause frustration, and confusion to all the involved parties.

In most polities, the most prominent form of delegation is from lawmakers (e.g., parliaments) to government agencies (e.g., economic, security, and public welfare agencies). Such agencies house the persons responsible for enforcing laws and tend to employ the nation’s leading experts in the agency’s policy area (e.g., economic agencies employ leading economists). In many places, these agencies are known collectively as the bureaucracy. In some places, people who work within these agencies are called bureaucrats or civil servants.


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