Delegation, consultation and empowerment


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Delegation, consultation and empowerment
Consultation means discussing things with others, then making a decision yourself. Delegation means
passing authority down the hierarchy to give staff the scope to make decisions for themselves.
Strangely, many students regard consultation as the more democratic of the two approaches. They
see delegation as `giving staff tasks.' Examiners appreciate candidates who can see delegation as
democratic, empowering process. Nevertheless, some managers claim to consult or delegate when
in fact they make all the key decisions and keep all the key tasks for themselves.
An example of delegation:
The head gives the business studies department a £1200 budget for spending on books
An example of consultation:
At the monthly meeting the Asda store manager asks staff their views on moving to 24 hour opening
The head calls a staff meeting to discuss student discipline and how to improve it
An example of empowerment:
A construction manager asks his deputy to `look after the new business section from now on'
Method Characteristics
Empowerment Finding out staff views, but not
necessarily basing decisions on them
Could be highly motivating, as people
want the challenge of finding out their
Delegation Passing decision making power down
the hierarchy, backed by financial
May tempt poor leaders to pass on
uninteresting tasks to junior staff
Could go badly wrong if the junior
employee lacks trust in their manager
Consultation Finding out staff views, but not
necessarily basing decisions on them
Running group meetings to find out the
views of all staff
A good way to find out the ideas of
those closest to the problems


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