individual responsibility

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As personal responsibility or personal responsibility (and ownership ) is defined as the willingness and obligation , for one's own actions and omissions responsibility to assume. This means that you stand up for your own actions and omissions and bear the consequences, for example in the form of sanctions . In organizational theory , external responsibility is seen as the opposite .

The consequences include: For example, capital investors are liable for their investment decisions under certain conditions (“liability principle”), i.e. they have to pay for any losses themselves. Walter Eucken , among others, pointed out this principle of liability - “Whoever has the benefit must also bear the damage” .

The principle of personal responsibility is based on the liberal ideal of a responsible, self-determined person, as he is e.g. B. was described by John Stuart Mill as an “active citizen”. This principle does not result in a refusal to take responsibility for others (→  solidarity ). However, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, social policy should essentially relate to helping people to help themselves and not prevent incentives for all individuals to act as independently as possible.

Legal perspective

From a legal perspective, the term personal responsibility - also self-responsibility - describes a group of norms that leave the actors room for maneuver with regard to the legally prescribed material goals, but at the same time provide an institutional context that - based on the existing motivational situation of the actors ( i.e. their self-interest) - convey sufficient impulses that lead to the expectation that the actors actually make the regulatory intended contributions to action. To this end, the law often makes use of procedural requirements, but also obligations and a wide range of requirements for information , communication and cooperation with other actors. Whether these impulses are sufficient to achieve the legally prescribed goal or - in violation of the prohibition of excess - entail excessive restrictions on the freedom of actors protected by the Basic Law, among other things , cannot usually be deduced from the legal norm itself; Rather, this requires a behavioral analysis , for example in the form of an institutional analysis .

Above all in social law , the legislature uses the legal term personal responsibility, e.g. B. in Section 1 (2) SGB ​​II , Section 1 , Section 2 (1) SGB ​​V , Section 6 , Section 7 (1), Section 31 (3) SGB ​​XI ; But also in divorce law according to § 1569 BGB and in environmental law according to § 61 KrWG the principle of personal responsibility applies. Legal reality requires citizens to act independently in various areas of the law.

Socio-economic component

In the discussion about the limits of the welfare state, the term personal responsibility became a political catchphrase in the 20th century . Ludwig Erhard, for example, saw personal responsibility as the mental attitude on which the social market economy is based. The individual economic subjects should also bear or be liable for their actions. Therefore criticized parts of the Ordoliberalismus the limited liability company . Against the background of the financial crisis from 2007 onwards , state rescue measures were taken by systemically important banks, which contradicts the principle of personal responsibility. In Germany z. B. the Restructuring Act to help banks deal with their difficulties on their own responsibility.

According to an approach by Pierre Bourdieu , however, people would be pushed to the margins of society through individualization in the sense of so-called self-responsibility .


In the USA , the Republicans stand for a leaner state and individual responsibility. Republican social policy aims ostensibly to increase national competencies and greater personal responsibility. This philosophy tends to mean a return to private care of the 19th century . The religious organizations are brought into play, and there is a reconciliation of the market liberals and social conservatives within their own ranks. Assistance comes after an examination of whether the needy really deserve it. The US Republicans emphasize self-discipline as a central characteristic to generate personal responsibility. In the understanding of the German CDU, discipline is only a consequence of performance or a vehicle to be able to provide even more performance. Every highly developed health system is in an implementation somewhere between solidarity and personal responsibility. Only the needy and people over 65 years of age are covered by the state for part of the health services. The rest of the population has to take out private health insurance under their own responsibility . The discourse about health policy in the USA has always been a debate about the role of the state. The Republicans are betting on market-based solutions, while the Democrats are calling for insurance coverage for all Americans. The European chemicals regulation ( REACH regulation ) is a paradigmatic example of a set of rules that aims to stimulate the actors to act independently . It aims to gain knowledge about industrially used chemicals and to establish appropriate risk management along the actors in the various value chains . The law formulates an institutional framework for those responsible for the substance in the company, which includes elements of information , communication and cooperation with other actors as well as transparency towards the general public and the participation of other social groups ( stakeholders ), e.g. from the unions to the consumer -, Health or environmental protection as well as scientists doing research in this field (e.g. from toxicology or ecotoxicology ). This framework is intended - largely without the active involvement of government agencies - to ensure that substance-related risks are “adequately controlled” in industrial society.

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Personal responsibility, the. Duden , 2017, accessed October 5, 2017 .
  2. ^ Jens Weidmann : Crisis Management and Regulatory Policy , Walter Eucken Lecture, February 11, 2013
  3. ^ Martin Führ : Eigen-Responsibility in the Rule of Law , Berlin 2003, ISBN 3428111583
  4. Ludwig Erhard : Prosperity for All ( Memento from April 28, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 3.7 MB), Econ Verlag , Düsseldorf / Vienna 1957, p. 245  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  5. ^ Freiburg School . In: Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon .
  6. Page of the Federal Ministry of Justice : Bank restructuring ( Memento of the original from March 23, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Ansgar Graw : When Obama's Predecessors Defended Slavery , Die Welt , April 25, 2010
  8. a b c d Michael Th. Greven : The Republicans: Anatomy of an American Party , CH Beck , 2004, p. 183
  9. a b Anjes Tjarks : Family images equal world views: How family metaphors determine our political thinking and acting , Springer DE , 2011, ISBN 9783531181943 , p. 92
  10. ^ Mareike Bibow: The German healthcare system between solidarity and personal responsibility , GRIN Verlag , 2007, ISBN 9783638856232 , p. 3.
  11. ^ A b Maximilian Schmidt: Organizing as a democratic function , Volume 42 of Medien & Politik , Lit Verlag , Münster 2011, ISBN 9783643112224 , p. 106
  12. Eckard Rehbinder : Stoffrecht , in: Klaus Hansmann, Dieter Sellner : Grundzüge des Umweltrechts , Berlin 2012, Chapter 11, Rn. 19, ISBN 9783503141067 .