Responsibility Authority and Accountability in Management

Responsibility Authority and Accountability in Management

In an organization, you have many works which you have to handle every day. It can be planned already or may become suddenly. You have duties like making a spreadsheet for your boss, making the presentation for your client, answering the calls and e-mails of your customers, taking an interview for new staff and buying new machines and tools for the company, etc.

Any task you have to do you want to complete it accurately and with skillfully. In the session of doing these jobs you need to face the three most essential components of a smooth-functioning business these are responsibility, accountability, and authority. These are the hardest job to perform by a manager and the courses like IOSH Managing Safely educate them to accomplish it more effectively. So now we talk about responsibility, authority, and accountability in detail.


A responsibility defines by Davis, ”responsibility is an obligation of the individual to perform assigned duties to the best of his ability under the direction of his executive leadership.”

The most common explanation is, responsibility is a burden on the manager to complete a particular task himself for your association. If any person is committing to perform a task then it becomes the responsibility of that person.

Responsibility is only given to a person, not to a machine, animal and a building. Responsibility depends on the authority, if a person has more authority then its responsibility is more. If superior gave authority to the subordinate, then the subordinate’s responsibility has been increasing simultaneously. The authority flows from a superior to a subordinate while responsibility flows from a subordinate to superior.

There are the following characteristics of responsibility

  1. Responsibility flows upwards from junior to senior.
  2. Responsibility cannot be delegated.
  3. It is a commitment to complete a task according to the guidance.
  4. Responsibility has arisen from the superior and subordinates relationship.
  5. Accepting responsibility without authority is impossible.


Now we talk about another component of management i.e. authority. It is a right to make decisions; it is given to the superior, manager or head of the association which helps them to control their subordinates and accomplish the business objectives and goals. Without authority, it is impossible to conceive a responsibility.

Authority is based on the rank or position of the person, and this authority can be given by law or by the selection. For example, a policeman has the authority to arrest a  person who commits a crime.

Similarly, the parent has authority to guide their children; they apply this authority to teach their child how to behave, how to respect their elders and discipline they also use it to punish them on their fault. As the same way, a manager or a boss has the authority to instruct and guide their employees.

There are some characteristics of authority

  1. Authority flows download from superior which have more authority to subordinate which have less authority.
  2. Authority can be delegated.
  3. It is a power to make decisions giving orders and instructions to the employees.
  4. It originates with the formal and informal organization.
  5. The authority is not unlimited power; it also has some foundations.


Accountability defined merely as to make individually answerable for non-accomplishment of the task. It belongs to that particular employee who committed to taking responsibility if your boss gives you a responsibility to prepare a presentation then you have to finish this work efficiently if you fail to do this then you are accountable to answer for your carelessness. It means you have to explain why you are not complete the presentation.

There are following the essential characteristics of accountability.

  1. Accountability cannot be delegated, as superior delegates their responsibility to his subordinate he is still answerable to their seniors.
  2. Authority and responsibility go downward, but accountability always goes upward. An employe has always been accountable to their manager or Boss.
  3. Accountability is unitary. An employee should be accountable to only one boss, if he has to answer more than one boss, then there will create confusion because different Boss wants different performance; therefore, accountability should be unitary.
  4. The range of accountability of the manager depends upon the extent of responsibility assigned to him and the size of authority given to him. It means a subordinate is answerable only for the acts done by him into the limits of their authority.
  5. Accountability directly depends on the authority if the authority is more than you are more accountable and if you have less authority, then you are less accountable.

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