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Differentiate responsibility authority and accountability?


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Answered 2009-03-26 22:24:47

In a summary distinction, "responsibility" focuses for the most part upon all of the elements of duty up to the point of decision, and "accountability" focuses for the most part upon all of the elements of duty after the decision is made.\ I prefer this:

Responsibility is about ownership of an endeavor, e.g., a project, a problem, an assignment.

Accountability is being held to the consequences of the outcome of the effort, i.e., to the outcome of the project, the solution of the problem, or the fulfillment of the assignment. Yes this is true but the AUTHORITY was left out. What we are talking about here are the roles of what is known in the business world as RACI matrix charting. RACI stands for R= Responsible, A = Authority, C = Collaborate and I = Inform. I know, I know so many will tell you that the A means Accountability but that is not true it has been totally misunderstood by many. In the charting process WHO performs a task or duty is deemed the "R" person(s) or those RESPONSIBLE. There can be 1, 2, 3 or more BUT Caution, having too many can result in NO one knowing "who is doing WHAT". The "A" or Authority is the person who is "In charge" or Authorized to see that the process and its defined duties are in fact carried out. There can be but ONE (1) person of Authority. ONE President, One GOD, one Boss (not, too many chiefs and too few Indians) The "C" or Collaborative people involved are ones who are stakeholders and need to be CONFERRED with prior to the tasks being performed. I suppose Collaborative or Conferred could be Synonymous. Lastly the "I" or Informed persons are those who are given information, data or results of the duties and tasks after or possibly during completion. BUT there is one other point to which we must identify and assign, and that is the ACCOUNTABILITY of people in the process. You see ALL involved are Accountable for their individual assignments no matter what they might be; Responsbile, Authoritative, Collaborative or Informed, ALL are Accountable in order for the process to be done as designed. Think of it this way, I am Responsible for how I drive. A policeman is the Authority of the LAW as designated to him to updhold. But both of us are ACCOUNTABLE for our duty, mine obeying the law and the officers for Upholding it. Please do not confuse the Accountability, Authority and Responsibility of any process like so many others have. It only leads to greater confusion and less improvement to whatever we do together.

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Assignment is transferring responsibility and accountability. Whereas delegation is the process by which responsibility and authority for performing a task (function, activity, or decision) is transferred to another individual who accepts that authority and responsibility.


Delegation of AuthorityA manager alone cannot perform all the tasks assigned to him. In order to meet the targets, the manager should delegate authority. Delegation of Authority means division of authority and powers downwards to the subordinate. Delegation is about entrusting someone else to do parts of your job. Delegation of authority can be defined as subdivision and sub-allocation of powers to the subordinates in order to achieve effective results.Elements of DelegationAuthority - in context of a business organization, authority can be defined as the power and right of a person to use and allocate the resources efficiently, to take decisions and to give orders so as to achieve the organizational objectives. Authority must be well- defined. All people who have the authority should know what is the scope of their authority is and they shouldn't misutilize it. Authority is the right to give commands, orders and get the things done. The top level management has greatest authority. Authority always flows from top to bottom. It explains how a superior gets work done from his subordinate by clearly explaining what is expected of him and how he should go about it. Authority should be accompanied with an equal amount of responsibility. Delegating the authority to someone else doesn't imply escaping from accountability. Accountability still rest with the person having the utmost authority.Responsibility - is the duty of the person to complete the task assigned to him. A person who is given the responsibility should ensure that he accomplishes the tasks assigned to him. If the tasks for which he was held responsible are not completed, then he should not give explanations or excuses. Responsibility without adequate authority leads to discontent and dissatisfaction among the person. Responsibility flows from bottom to top. The middle level and lower level management holds more responsibility. The person held responsible for a job is answerable for it. If he performs the tasks assigned as expected, he is bound for praises. While if he doesn't accomplish tasks assigned as expected, then also he is answerable for that.Accountability - means giving explanations for any variance in the actual performance from the expectations set. Accountability can not be delegated. For example, if 'A' is given a task with sufficient authority, and 'A' delegates this task to B and asks him to ensure that task is done well, responsibility rest with 'B', but accountability still rest with 'A'. The top level management is most accountable. Being accountable means being innovative as the person will think beyond his scope of job. Accountability, in short, means being answerable for the end result. Accountability can't be escaped. It arises from responsibility.For achieving delegation, a manager has to work in a system and has to perform following steps : -Assignment of tasks and dutiesGranting of authorityCreating responsibility and accountabilityDelegation of authority is the base of superior-subordinate relationship, it involves following steps:-Assignment of Duties - The delegator first tries to define the task and duties to the subordinate. He also has to define the result expected from the subordinates. Clarity of duty as well as result expected has to be the first step in delegation.Granting of authority - Subdivision of authority takes place when a superior divides and shares his authority with the subordinate. It is for this reason, every subordinate should be given enough independence to carry the task given to him by his superiors. The managers at all levels delegate authority and power which is attached to their job positions. The subdivision of powers is very important to get effective results.Creating Responsibility and Accountability - The delegation process does not end once powers are granted to the subordinates. They at the same time have to be obligatory towards the duties assigned to them. Responsibility is said to be the factor or obligation of an individual to carry out his duties in best of his ability as per the directions of superior. Responsibility is very important. Therefore, it is that which gives effectiveness to authority. At the same time, responsibility is absolute and cannot be shifted. Accountability, on the others hand, is the obligation of the individual to carry out his duties as per the standards of performance. Therefore, it is said that authority is delegated, responsibility is created and accountability is imposed. Accountability arises out of responsibility and responsibility arises out of authority. Therefore, it becomes important that with every authority position an equal and opposite responsibility should be attached.Therefore every manager,i.e.,the delegator has to follow a system to finish up the delegation process. Equally important is the delegatee's role which means his responsibility and accountability is attached with the authority over to here.Relationship between Authority and ResponsibilityAuthority is the legal right of person or superior to command his subordinates while accountability is the obligation of individual to carry out his duties as per standards of performance Authority flows from the superiors to subordinates,in which orders and instructions are given to subordinates to complete the task. It is only through authority, a manager exercises control. In a way through exercising the control the superior is demanding accountability from subordinates. If the marketing manager directs the sales supervisor for 50 units of sale to be undertaken in a month. If the above standards are not accomplished, it is the marketing manager who will be accountable to the chief executive officer. Therefore, we can say that authority flows from top to bottom and responsibility flows from bottom to top. Accountability is a result of responsibility and responsibility is result of authority. Therefore, for every authority an equal accountability is attached.Differences between Authority and ResponsibilityAuthorityResponsibilityIt is the legal right of a person or a superior to command his subordinates.It is the obligation of subordinate to perform the work assigned to him.Authority is attached to the position of a superior in concern.Responsibility arises out of superior-subordinate relationship in which subordinate agrees to carry out duty given to him.Authority can be delegated by a superior to a subordinateResponsibility cannot be shifted and is absoluteIt flows from top to bottom.It flows from bottom to top.


Accountability is a characteristic of all professions. In addition, responsibility, and accountability are tightly coupled.


The word responsibility is a noun which means liability, charge, obligation, duty, trust, or accountability. The word accountability is a noun which means liability, charge, amenability, blame, trust, or responsibility. Example sentences: I had the responsibility for ensuring that all patients' records were kept accurately. I accepted accountability for the patient's records that were misfiled.


Parity of Authority and Responsibility?


Accountability is synonymous with responsibility.Means you answer to someone in regards to job performance/ your actions.


Corporate governance is for the accountability to shareholders, corporate social responsibility is for the accountability to remaining other stakeholders.


Responsibility,Empowerment, Accountability


responsibility, liability, culpability, answerability



There is no abbreviation for accountability. The word means the fact or condition of being accountable. It can also mean responsibility.


Responsibility is an obligation /duty as mutual relationship from superiors or subordinates that be can performed individually or shared but cannot be delegated.With authority comes the importance of responsibility as social or administrative function. By accepting responsibility comes the accountability to those we are answerable . eg individuals,families, social institution or any organisation.


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The correct spelling is "responsibility" (accountability, or reliability).


Personal accountability is taking responsibility for your actions, or your participation in an event. Personal accountability requires that you not blame others or outside forces, but instead own your actions.


Authority to do something can be accepted by a subordinate but the responsicibilty remains that of the delegator. General Lee delegated authority for Picketts charge but knew he had to accept responsibility for the result. The responsibility to carry out the order requires that both parties have responsibility but the overall responsibility remains with delegator of the authority.


The likely word is "responsibility" (accountability, or having reliability).


Individual or departmental responsibility to perform a certain function. Accountability may be dictated or implied by law, regulation, or agreement


Electoral accountability is an extreme topic in political figures. The accountability of an electoral can determine the leader of the United States. It is the responsibility of the electoral college to remain accountable to their votes for the people back to the people.


The two chief advantages of hierarchical structure regard the centralization and power and authority. In this form of organization power is top down with responsibility, accountability and liability thus placed on its higher echelons.



Health, being a fundamental right of every individual.


The FHA, or Federal Housing Authority is the responsibility of the Federal Government.



Responsibility is best met head on. Not doing what you have been assigned to do can lead to nothing but struggle. It is important to have a strong accountability partner, as well.



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