Decentralization is the process of shifting control from one main group to several smaller ones. The decentralization of government, for example, gives more power to the individual states, rather than concentrating it at the federal level.
In business, decentralization describes a structure that distributes control among many smaller groups or locations, rather than giving that power to a single, central organization. Franchises are one example of decentralization, giving individual owners of each store the ability to make decisions. In government, decentralization is often thought of as a way to move power into the hands of individual citizens.