Difference between Authority, Responsibility and Accountability
Authority: The right of an individual to command his subordinates and take actions within the power allocated to him is known as Authority. The concept of authority arises when an organisation follows the Scalar chain, which defines positions and roles. Thus, we can say that it arises by the virtue of position. Authority grants the power to an employee to take actions for the work assigned to him. It always flows from top to bottom and the extent of authority is highest at the top level of management. It reduces as we go downwards in a hierarchical setting. If more authority is granted than required for a position, then it may lead to misuse of authority, and if less authority is given than required, it makes a person ineffective.
Responsibility: The obligation of a subordinate to perform the work assigned properly is known as Responsibility. It arises from a superior-subordinate relationship as a subordinate is bound to perform the work assigned to him by the superior. Thus, it flows upwards from bottom to top.
Accountability: The obligation to carry out responsibility or being answerable for the assigned work is known as Accountability. It cannot be delegated and flows upwards, i.e., a subordinate will be accountable and responsible for the work assigned to him. It cannot be denied once authority is delegated and responsibility is accepted. It must be kept in mind that if the subordinate fails to perform the delegated work, the superior would still be accountable for the work delegated.
Difference between Authority, Responsibility and Accountability:
|Meaning||The right of an individual to command his subordinates and take actions within the power allocated to him is known as Authority.||The obligation of a subordinate to perform the work assigned properly is known as Responsibility.||The obligation to carry out responsibility or being answerable for the assigned work is known as Accountability.|
|It can be delegated.||It cannot be entirely delegated.||It cannot be delegated.|
|Origin||It arises because of a formal position in an organisation.||It arises from the superior-subordinate relationship.||It arises because of delegation of authority.|
|Flow||It flows downwards from top to bottom, as a superior has authority over the subordinates.||It flows upwards as a subordinate is responsible to his superior.||It flows upwards as a subordinate is responsible to his superior for the work assigned.|
|Nature||Authority is a power.||Responsibility is an obligation.||Accountability is answerability.|
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