Management determines the success or failure of an organization. There are so many tasks, occurrences, issues and emergencies that take place in an organization in any given time and working alone becomes no longer viable.
The concept of empowerment and delegation in any organization is important in ensuring that all the tasks are done perfectly within a given time frame with a common goal of achieving the core objectives of an organization.
This paper will discuss the importance of delegation particularly in health care systems, the relationship between delegation and empowerment as well as the potential dangers of delegation and how it impacts on empowerment.
Delegation is a management concept that entails assigning specific duties to other people in an organization though the tasks may or may not be part of their job description. Stone (2004) describes delegation as “giving an employee the responsibility for part of your job and the authority to carry it out, while retaining control and accountability” (Stone, 2004, p. 1).
Empowerment, on the other hand, means the applied effort by any management to improve the potential, skills and ability of the employees to best do their assigned duties with the aim of improving the performance of an organization.
Delegation in health care set up is very important and is believed to have great benefits: “when delegation is undertaken effectively it allows qualified professionals to shift their focus from routine tasks to more complex tasks” (Royal College of Nursing, 2011, p. 1).
However, it is worth noting that delegation in a health care set up is a very sensitive issue owing to the fact that the profession has an impact on the health status of people. A report by NASN (2011) defined nursing delegation as “transferring the responsibility of performing a nursing activity to another person while retaining accountability for the outcome” (NASN, 2011, p. 1).
Delegations and empowerment are concepts which work hand in hand. Effective delegation is only possible when there is empowerment of the people to whom duties are delegated to. Empowerment focuses on investing in the employee in terms of improving their ability to perform their assigned duties. Algase (2011) claimed that “empowerment takes employees interests as the means to achieve the end”(Algase, 2011, p. 1).
Delegation may be taken as one form of empowerment whereby new authority is assigned together with the responsibilities and benefits that come with a task. On the other hand, empowerment cannot be effective without delegation. Delegation assigns specific tasks or responsibilities and then empowerment ensures that the person is well equipped for the responsibility.
Delegation gives room for specialization whereby responsibilities are delegated to experts of that special field. This can be seen as a form of empowerment since specialization results to better performance.
Importance of delegation
Delegation distributes work load to other people and thus results can be achieved with much ease. Delegation can be viewed as teamwork whereby different tasks are assigned to different individuals. Delegation comes in handy during the times of emergencies when certain tasks may be delegated to the available staff. Through delegation the supervisors can reallocate their energy to management and other more important issues while at the same time getting the job done. Delegation of tasks enables staff to get used to different tasks and develop mastery of different skills.
Delegation and empowerment go hand in hand; delegation can be used as one of the empowerment strategies whereby different people are given new responsibilities. Delegation may affect the effectiveness of empowerment by assigning tasks without investing enough on the worker to improve his/her skills.
Delegation without empowerment may yield negative results since the individuals may not be in a position to deliver on the assigned tasks. Effective delegation may have positive influence on empowerment in that it is a form of motivation and it encourages specialization.
One of the greatest dangers of delegation is the fact that the person may not be familiar with the task and delegation may result to disastrous results.
Delegation means prior training and this may also take time that could have been the cause for delegation. The person delegating may lose control and relax on his work. The availability of delegation may be used inappropriately and all tasks assigned to one person may become delegated to other people.
Delegation may give rise to conflicts at the workplace especially when people are given tasks beyond their expertise. A report by NCSBN (2011) warned that “all decisions related to delegation of nursing tasks must be based on the fundamental principle of protection of the health, safety and welfare of the public” (NCSBN, 2011, p. 1).
The concept of empowerment and delegation is important in any organization especially if well handled. Both concepts are interrelated with delegation being one form of empowerment.
Delegation, if not well handled has been found to have negative impact at the workplace. Delegation in health care set up must be handled with utmost care and precaution due to the high risks involved. It is recommended that these concepts be handled with care and open mindedness.
Algase. (2011). Promoting Thought Leadership. Algase. Retrieved on 26 March 2011 from http://www.alagse.com/hr/hr3.php
NASN. (2011). Delegation. National Association of School Nurses Retrieved on 26 March 2011 from http://www.nasn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=349
NCSBN. (2011). Delegation. National Council of State Board of Nursing. Retrieved on 26 March 2011 from https://www.ncsbn.org/323.htm
Royal College of Nursing. (2011). Delegation to healthcare assistants. A guide for general practice. Retrieved on 26 March 2011 from http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/health_care_support_workers/learning_and_development/hca_toolkit/hca_resources/extending_the_role_of_the_hca/delegation_to_healthcare_assistants_-_a_guide_for_general_practice
Stone, F. (2004). From Delegation to Empowering. UT Health Science Centre. Retrieved on 26 March 2011 from http://www.uthscsa.edu/gme/documents/FromDelegatingtoEmpowering.pdf