Organizational Concepts

Review these four concepts that relate to ability and right to act. Use these principles to help project team members contribute to your projects and to make the right types of decisions.

Authority relates to the vertical hierarchy of positions in organizations. It is defined as the right to act. Authority consists of making decisions within a designated scope, assigning tasks, and expecting satisfactory performance of tasks. Examples are directing others and authorizing the spending of funds.
You must delegate authority to enable others to act.
Responsibility is defined as an obligation to act. Unlike authority, responsibility (once accepted) cannot be delegated. Responsibility typically begins when an individual accepts a position at an organization.
Accountability uses elements of authority and responsibility. It is defined as being liable for actions. Once you accept a delegated assignment, you have accountability to act and to answer for results. Your boss still bears ultimate organizational responsibility. Your boss cannot escape responsibility through delegation.
Power is often confused with authority. Power is defined as ability to act without necessarily having a right to act. Power is measured by ability to give or promise rewards, and also to punish or threaten punishment.
Use of power is influenced by ethical and moral factors. Even though individuals may have authority, they may not have power. You may know an individual at your organization that fits this description.

Two key problems that exist at most organizations regarding coordinating principles are the following:
Individuals want to maximize authority and power, but want to minimize responsibility and accountability.
Management asks employees to be responsible and accountable for an assignment, but does not provide sufficient authority.

Additional coordinating principles include the following:
1.Line and staff.
The line and staff principle causes a great deal of conflict. Line employees have direct responsibility and authority to accomplish enterprise objectives. Staff employees support line employees.
2.Centralization and decentralization.
Centralization and decentralization refers to degree of delegation of duties and authority granted to lower levels of an organization.
3.Span of control.
Span of control refers to the number of people or activities that can be effectively managed. When you direct just a few employees, you use a narrow span of control. When you direct many employees, you use a wide span of control.
4.The Parity Principle.
The parity principle states that authority and responsibility go hand in hand to effectively perform a task.

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