i. Responsibility – This is an obligation placed on a person who occupies a certain position. It is accountability for the performance of specified duties or the satisfactory achievement of defined company objectives. Because responsibility is an obligation owed, it cannot be delegated. No superior can escape responsibility for the activities of subordinates, for it is the superior who delegates authority and assigns the duties. It does follow, however, that the subordinate has a responsibility back to his superior. Once a subordinate has accepted the assignment and the power to carry it out, his or her responsibility is absolute
ii. Authority – Henri Fayol defined authority as “the right to give orders and the power to exact obedience”. It is the right to exercise powers such as hiring and firing or buying and selling on behalf of the organization. Authority refers to the relationship between the participants in an organization. The authority structure provides the basis for assigning tasks to the various elements-for commanding. The concept of authority is closely related to the idea of the legitimate exercise of the power of a position and depends on the willingness of subordinates to comply with certain directives of superiors. The scope of responsibility must correspond to the scope of authority given. If a manager is given responsibility without the necessary authority, he is in the invidious position of being powerless to achieve the levels upon which his performance is being judged. Conversely, a person given authority without clear responsibility for achieving specified targets, or without having to report to a more senior manager, is in a position of false security.
iii. Delegation – This is the process whereby a manager or supervisor transfers part of his or her legitimate authority to a subordinate. Along with authority goes responsibility but whilst authority can be delegated, responsibility remains with the superior, e.g. while a Board of Directors may delegate authority to the managers, the directors are still responsible directly to the shareholders. Delegation means giving someone else the freedom and authority to do a job for which you are accountable. This action implies that the person receiving the delegated work will handle it on his or her own initiative and that you have confidence in the ability of the delegatee to do the job successfully. Delegation is an important aspect of organization and effective management. Without delegation, formal organizations could not exist. If there were no delegation, the chief executive would be responsible for everything and would be the only person with the authority to do anything. Consequently nothing much would ever get done. Because management is the act of getting things done (accomplishing objectives) through the work of other people, to put it simply, it is obvious that management could not succeed without delegation.