Centralization and Decentralization

Centralization is said to be a process where the concentration of decision making is in a few hands. All the important decision and actions at the lower level, all subjects and actions at the lower level are subject to the approval of top management. According to Allen, “Centralization” is the systematic and consistent reservation of authority at central points in the organization. The implication of centralization can be :-

  1. Reservation of decision making power at top level.
  2. Reservation of operating authority with the middle level managers.
  3. Reservation of operation at lower level at the directions of the top level.

Under centralization, the important and key decisions are taken by the top management and the other levels are into implementations as per the directions of top level. For example, in a business concern, the father & son being the owners decide about the important matters and all the rest of functions

like product, finance, marketing, personnel, are carried out by the department heads and they have to act as per instruction and orders of the two people. Therefore in this case, decision making power remain in the hands of father & son.
On the other hand, Decentralization is a systematic delegation of authority at all levels of management and in all of the organization. In a decentralization concern, authority in retained by the top management for taking major decisions and framing policies concerning the whole concern. Rest of the authority may be delegated to the middle level and lower level of management.

The degree of centralization and decentralization will depend upon the amount of authority delegated to the lowest level. According to Allen, “Decentralization refers to the systematic effort to delegate to the lowest level of authority except that which can be controlled and exercised at central points.

Decentralization is not the same as delegation. In fact, decentralization is all extension of delegation. Decentralization pattern is wider is scope and the authorities are diffused to the lowest most level of management. Delegation of authority is a complete process and takes place from one person to another. While decentralization is complete only when fullest possible delegation has taken place. For example, the general manager of a company is responsible for receiving the leave application for the whole of the concern. The general manager delegates this work to the personnel manager who is now responsible for receiving the leave applicants. In this situation delegation of authority has taken place. On the other hand, on the request of the personnel manager, if the general manager delegates this power to all the departmental heads at all level, in this situation decentralization has taken place. There is a saying that “Everything that increasing the role of subordinates is decentralization and that decreases the role is centralization”. Decentralization is wider in scope and the subordinate’s responsibility increase in this case. On the other hand, in delegation the managers remain answerable even for the acts of subordinates to their superiors.

Implications of Decentralization

  1. There is less burden on the Chief Executive as in the case of centralization.
  2. In decentralization, the subordinates get a chance to decide and act independently which develops skills and capabilities. This way the organization is able to process reserve of talents in it.
  3. In decentralization, diversification and horizontal can be easily implanted.
  4. In decentralization, concern diversification of activities can place effectively since there is more scope for creating new departments. Therefore, diversification growth is of a degree.
  5. In decentralization structure, operations can be coordinated at divisional level which is not possible in the centralization set up.
  6. In the case of decentralization structure, there is greater motivation and morale of the employees since they get more independence to act and decide.
  7. In a decentralization structure, co-ordination to some extent is difficult to maintain as there are lot many department divisions and authority is delegated to maximum possible extent, i.e., to the bottom most level delegation reaches. Centralization and decentralization are the categories by which the pattern of authority relationships became clear. The degree of centralization and de-centralization can be affected by many factors like nature of operation, volume of profits, number of departments, size of a concern, etc. The larger the size of a concern, a decentralization set up is suitable in it.


Similar Articles Under - Organizing Function



Learn management concepts and skills rapidly with easy-to-understand richly illustrated learning modules.
You will find lot of interesting courses on a wide range of topics, spanning Skills Development, Management Basics, Human Resources, Strategic Management, Leadership, Marketing, Soft Skills and many others. Whether you’re looking to improve your resume, advance your career, or just learn more and expand your knowledge, we hope there will be multiple courses that you find interesting.  
Click here to Get Access to 8 Free Courses - You can View All the Courses Online and Download the Powerpoint Presentations for every course.

Custom Search