The delegation of authority represents an empowerment of a given employee or manager to accomplish and assignment as specified. It represents a defined and limited authority when given as part of a work assignment. It represents something akin to a standing authority when it is part of the broad responsibilities of a given manager or executive.
There are a number of important elements to the delegation of authority in both situations. Among the most important would be matching the authority to the abilities of the person receiving the empowerment. The empowerment reflects trust and must be matched accordingly.