Publication Date



{Excerpt} No man is an island, entire of itself; … , meditated John Donne. In more ways than one, too: cooperation, especially the trust and graduated delegation of authority it usually implies when people come together to realize societal and organizational goals, determines how we live, learn, work, and play.

Because the perceived benefits from cooperation normally outstrip those from going it alone—for instance, by reducing transaction costs, collaboration mechanisms are integral to necessary management of (scarce) natural, human, tangible, and intangible resources—we delegate (and pay for), say, procurement of foodstuff, health care, education, entertainment, and protection to supermarkets, doctors, schools, the film industry, and armed forces. We do so by framing obligations for exchange of valuable things in marketplaces. Most exchanges are straightforward, self-executing matters giving satisfaction, e.g., the sale and purchase of a soft drink—if this were not so, controversy and dispute would soon suffocate society at large and the commerce that nurtures it; however, others are not.


Suggested Citation

Serrat, O. (2010). Delegating in the workplace. Washington, DC: Asian Development Bank.

Required Publisher's Statement

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (