Introduction to Public Administration

POWER AND AUTHORITY:Nature of Relationship, Delegation of Functional Authority

<< DEPARTMENTALIZATION:Departmentalization by Enterprise Function, Departments by Product
DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY:The Art of Delegation, Coordination >>
Introduction To Public Administration­MGT111
At the end of the lecture students will be able to understand:
The concepts of Line and Staff
Relationship of authority with line and staff concept
Centralization, Decentralization and Delegation
Definition of Power and Authority
Authority is a force for achieving desired outcomes, but only as prescribed by the formal
hierarchy and reporting relationships,
Authority is vested in organizational positions, not because of the personalities and personal
characteristics of the individuals, but because of the position that a person is holding.
Power is the ability to influence others to modify behaviour to achieve stated objectives.
Authority is also defined as the right in a position to exercise discretion in making decisions affecting others.
Line and Staff Concept
There is much confusion on what exactly is "line" and "staff" in management literature and
practice. But line and staff relationship are important as an organizational way of life and authority
Line Concept
Line functions are those that have direct impact on the accomplishment of the objectives of an
organization. Example: policeperson controlling the mob
Staff Concept
Staff functions are those that help the line persons work most effectively in accomplishing the
objectives. Example: A person managing the budget of the organization
It is the assignment to another person of formal authority (legitimate power) and responsibility for
carrying out specific activities
Nature of Relationship
Scalar Principle
The clearer the line of authority from the ultimate management position in an organization to
every subordinate position, the clearer will be the responsibility for decision making and effective will be
organization communication. In many large organizations the steps are long and complicated. It should
become clear from the scalar principle that line authority is that relationship in which superior exercises
direct supervision over subordinate. In Figure 1 this relationship is shown by the solid line that connects
Scalar Principle
Figure 1
Chief Executive
Director Research
Director Production
Director Public
Manager Purchase
Manager Personnel
Manager Factory
Introduction To Public Administration­MGT111
Functional Authority
It is important to understand the functional authority. It is the right that is delegated to an
individual or a department to control specified processes, practices, policies, or other matters relating to
activities undertaken by persons in other departments. If principle of unity of command were followed,
authority over these activities would be exercised by their line supervisor.
Delegation of Functional Authority
One can better understand Delegation of functional authority as a small slice of the authority of
line supervisor. The Chairman or head of institution has complete authority to manage organization, under
the rules of organization. In pure staff situation the advises on personnel, accounting, purchasing etc., have
no part of this line authority, their duty is to offer advise. But when the head of institution delegates his
advisor to issue instructions to the line organization as shown in figure-2 that is called "functional
Scalar Principle
Figure- 2
Chief Executive
Director Research
Director Production
Director Public
Manager Purchase
Manager Personnel
Manager Factory
Benefits of Staff
Today, staff advice is far more critical for business, government, and other enterprises than it was
in the past. Operating managers are now faced with making decisions that require expert knowledge in
economics, technical political and legal areas.
Another major advantage of staff is that the specialists may be given time to think, to gather data,
and to analyze to advise superiors, whereas busy mangers cannot do this. It is rare that operating managers
will find time to do analysis which the staff assistant can do as well.
Limitations of Staff
Danger of undermining Line Authority: The advice of staff officers is taken by the
executive with enthusiasm which may not be acceptable to line (operating) people because
they think that staff has no experience of work of line people.
Lack of Staff Responsibility: advisory departments only propose plans while line has to
implement. When there is problem in the implementation of plans the blame is shifted to
those who have advised. This creates situation for shifting blames for mistakes on staff.
Thinking in a Vacuum: Because staff people do not implement. They only advise so what
they advise they are blamed for thinking in vacuum
Decentralization of Authority
We focussed on the kinds of authority relationship, such as line staff and functional authority. Now
we will look at dispersion of authority.
Nature of Decentralization
Organization authority is given to people to use judgment to make decision and give instructions.
Decentralization is the tendency to disperse decision-making authority in an organized structure. It
is a fundamental aspect of delegation; to the extent authority is not delegated, it is centralized. How much
Introduction To Public Administration­MGT111
should authority be concentrated in or dispersed through out the organization? There could be absolute
centralization of authority in one person, but that means no subordinate mangers and therefore, no
structured organization. Some decentralization exists in all organizations & that is shown in figure 3. The
degree of centralization and decentralization would vary from organization to organization.
Complete decentralization
Complete centralization
(No organizational structure)
(No organizational structure)
Authority Delegated
Authority not delegated
Centralization and Decentralization: The degree to which formal authority is delegated by manager
throughout the organization runs along continuum from centralization to decentralization as shown in
figure 3. In a relatively decentralized organization, considerable authority and responsibility is passed down
the organizational hierarchy
Different Kinds of Centralization
Centralization of performance
Departmental centralization
Centralization as an aspect of Management
1. Centralization of performance
It pertains to geographic concentration; it characterizes an organization operating in a single
2. Departmental centralization
It refers to centralization of specialized activities, generally in one department. For example,
maintenance for a whole plant may be carried out by a single department.
3. Centralization as an aspect of management
It is the tendency to restrict delegation of decision making. A high degree of authority is held at
or near the top by managers in the hierarchy.
We have so far covered four building blocks of Organizing. These are:
Classify work into activities which is called `Division of labour
Combine activities in a logical and efficient manner called `Departmentalization'
Specify who reports to whom called `Hierarchy'
Integrate departmental activities called `coordination'
Introduction To Public Administration­MGT111
Line function:
functions that have direct impact on the accomplishment of
objectives of organization
Staff Function:
are advisory functions. Staff people help line persons to work
most effectively in accomplishing objectives.
Scalar principle:
the line of authority that determines the relationship between
supervisors and supervised
Functional authority:
authority given to department or individual to control specified
processes, practices and policies
Delegation of authority:
giving of part of authority to lower level
Decentralization of authority: decentralization of authority is dispersion of decision ­ making
authority in an organized structure.
Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Institutions of State, Individualism
  2. EVOLUTION OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION:Classical School, The Shovelling Experiment
  3. CLASSICAL SCHOOL OF THOUGHTS I:Theory of Bureaucracy, Human Relation Approach
  4. CLASSICAL SCHOOL OF THOUGHTS II:Contributors of This Approach
  5. HUMAN RELATIONS SCHOOLS:Behavioural School, System Schools
  6. POWER AND POLITICS:Conflict- as Positive and Negative, Reactions of Managers, Three Dimensional Typology
  7. HISTORY OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION I:Moghul Period, British Period
  9. CIVIL SERVICE:What are the Functions Performed by the Government?
  10. CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS:Implementation of the Reforms, Categories of the Civil Service
  11. 1973 CONSTITUTION OF PAKISTAN:The Republic of Pakistan, Definition of the State
  12. STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT:Rules of Business, Conclusion
  13. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ADMINISTRATION:The Public Interest, Ambiguity, Less Efficient
  14. ORGANIZATION:Formal Organizations, Departmentalization
  15. DEPARTMENTALIZATION:Departmentalization by Enterprise Function, Departments by Product
  16. POWER AND AUTHORITY:Nature of Relationship, Delegation of Functional Authority
  17. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY:The Art of Delegation, Coordination
  18. PLANNING I:Four Major Aspects of Planning, Types of Plans
  19. PLANNING II:Planning ProcessThree principles of plans
  21. DECISION MAKING:Theories on Decision Making, Steps in Rational Decision Making
  22. HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT (HRM):Importance of Human Resource, Recruitment
  23. SELECTION PROCESS AND TRAINING:Levels at Which Selection takes Place, Training and Development
  24. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL:Formal Appraisals, Informal Appraisals
  26. PUBLIC FINANCE:Background, Components of Public Finance, Dissimilarities
  27. BUDGET:Components of Public Income, Use of Taxes, Types of Taxation
  28. PUBLIC BUDGET:Incremental Budget, Annual Budget Statement, Budget Preparation
  29. NATIONAL FINANCE COMMISSION:Fiscal Federalism Defined, Multiple Criteria
  30. ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL:Types of Accountability, Internal Control, External Control
  31. AUDIT:Economy, Effectiveness, Objectives of Performance Audit, Concepts
  32. MOTIVATION:Assumptions about Motivation, Early ViewsThree Needs
  33. MOTIVATION AND LEADERSHIP:Reinforcement Theory, Leadership, The Trait Approach
  34. LEADERSHIP:Contingency Approaches, Personal Characteristics of Employees
  35. TEAM I:Formal & Informal teams, Functions of Informal Groups, Characteristics of Teams
  36. TEAM II:Team Cohesiveness, Four ways to Cohesiveness, Communication
  37. COMMUNICATION I:Types of Communication, How to Improve Communication
  38. COMMUNICATION II:Factors in Organizational Communication, Negotiating To Manage Conflicts
  39. DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION:The British Period, After Independence, The Issues
  40. DEVOLUTION PLAN I:Country Information, Tiers or Level of Government
  41. DEVOLUTION PLAN II:Aim of Devolution Plan, Administrative Reforms, Separation of powers
  42. POLITICAL REFORMS:District, Tehsil, Functions of Union Council, Fiscal Reforms
  43. NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT (NPM):Strategy, Beginning of Management Approach
  45. MANAGERIAL PROGRAMME AGENDA II:Theoretical Bases of Management, Critique on Management