Responsibility (organization)

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Responsibility ( english responsibility ) is in the organization theory , the obligation of a job holder or functionary , on the goal-compliant fulfillment of its place in the way the delegation assigned tasks accountable store.


In Martin Luther's 1545 translation of the Bible , the term responsibility appeared several times, always as a translation of the Hebrew אחריות ( tochachat ) and the Greek ἀπολογία ( apologia ), both of which stood for justification or defense . In Kaspar von Stieler's dictionary of 1691 one finds the entry “Responsibility: apologia , defensio ”, in 1774 Johann Christoph Adelung defined the term as “from a judicial protection letter, defense or defension”.


Responsibility is inseparable from accountability ; accountability is communicated responsibility. In the event of non-fulfillment of the tasks, the person responsible is obliged to submit to the sanctions provided for this . In legal terms, responsibility is understood as the duty of a person to account for their decisions , actions and omissions with regard to compliance with documented regulations ( laws , internal work instructions , job description ). If a person is assigned a task and the associated competence , he must carry it out and be responsible for the legal consequences in the event of errors . According to the congruence principle of the organization , tasks, competencies and responsibilities are to be delegated equally.


Responsibility is divided into three types in terms of content. Responsibility for action is the duty to carry out a task in accordance with the rules, responsibility for results is the duty to achieve specified or agreed goals, management responsibility is the duty to perform relevant and person-related management tasks. Superiors can delegate responsibility for action and results, but their overall responsibility remains.

In addition, there is an institutional distinction between external responsibility and personal responsibility . In the case of external responsibility, a functionary is held accountable not only for his own actions, but also for the actions of his employees. Personal responsibility is characterized by the fact that the responsible body is only accountable for the fulfillment of the tasks assigned to it. Instances assume both responsibility for action and management responsibility with regard to the performance of their employees' tasks.

Leadership responsibility

Responsibility is often reduced to managerial responsibility. Only managers who are entrusted with the management of employees have this task . This managerial responsibility requires managerial competence and distinguishes the manager from all other employees. Management tasks include, in particular, leadership , control , planning and organization . As part of your management responsibility , you will be responsible for success , results , budget , personnel , material resources or deadlines . They assume their managerial responsibility, including external responsibility, towards their next higher reporting level, which in turn has to fulfill their managerial tasks towards lower management levels.

Individual evidence

  1. Tze-wan Kwan, Responsibility and Commitment , 2008, p. 192 f. .
  2. ^ Kaspar von Stieler, Der Teutschen Sprache Genealogy and Fortwachs , 1691, Sp. 2581
  3. ^ Johann Christoph Adelung, Grammatical-Critical Dictionary of High German Dialect , Volume 4, 1774, Sp. 988
  4. Joachim Karger, responsibility , in: Fritz Neske / Markus Wiener (eds.), Management-Lexikon , Volume 4, 1985, p. 1537.
  5. Wilfried Krüger, Organization of the Company , 1994, p. 46.
  6. ^ Wilhelm Hill / Raymond Fehlbaum / Peter Ulrich, Organization theory , Volume 1, 1994, p. 124.
  7. Joachim Karger, responsibility , in: Fritz Neske / Markus Wiener (/ ed.), Management-Lexikon , Volume 4, 1985, p. 1537.