In organizations, most often responsibilities and the level of authority are not clear (cf. difference between Responsibility and Authority). This concerns who’s responsible for what – who has the authority to perform certain actions, to take ownership of specific tasks, etc? Most often, one has to discover or figure out along the way what level of authority he/she has.
People who are proactive may take more ownership and proceed with actions, till that moment a superior intervenes to set some boundaries. This can be quite counter-productive and frustrating. Rarely, these boundaries are clearly set from the beginning. Some people do not really care about these blurry boundaries of authority, and will delegate all kind of “accountability” to managers higher up (in case of situations going wrong).
If you are serious about setting boundaries of authority, and you want to delegate real authority to teams in the company, action should be taken to make these boundaries clear.
A great tool to do this kind of exercise, is delegation poker by Management 3.0.