What is the difference between Responsibility and Authority

Craig H.

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Responsibility means that someone (or a group) is charged with seeing that something gets done.

Authority means that someone has access and/or control over certain resources.

It is generally a good idea to avoid situations where one has the responsibility for a task, but no authority to use the resources needed to accomplish that task.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Administrator
#3
To be responible for something, one arguably must have the authority to control it.

In quality, safety and environmental systems, various persons are responsible for outcomes; these same people should also be granted authority, at times quite specifically, to impact quaity by, for example, stopping a process when errors are detected.

Do you see? Responsibility is "You must do xyz" while authority is "You can/may do xyz."
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
To add to Jennifer's definition:

Give me responsibility for doing something means that you are going to chew me if it goes wrong.

Give me responsibility and authority to do something and you have made it clear that I have your support to do what needs to be done, even if an unpopular decision needs to be made. You will still chew me if it goes wrong, but now you've given me the resources that I need to accomplish the task AND ensuring that nothing goes wrong. It also means that if it goes right, I have the possibility of getting some of the credit, not just all of the blame.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Administrator
#5
SteelMaiden said:
To add to Jennifer's definition:

Give me responsibility for doing something means that you are going to chew me if it goes wrong.

Give me responsibility and authority to do something and you have made it clear that I have your support to do what needs to be done, even if an unpopular decision needs to be made. You will still chew me if it goes wrong, but now you've given me the resources that I need to accomplish the task AND ensuring that nothing goes wrong. It also means that if it goes right, I have the possibility of getting some of the credit, not just all of the blame.
Nicely said! :applause: :applause:
 

Randy

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
Lost, lost, lost......:nope:

I'll keep ya'll in limbo until tomorrow when I can get on the net without it crashing....

Keep guessing though.....:lol:
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Simple but confusing
RESPONSIBILITY - one is responsible to see that an action/task is carried out
AUTHORITY - one has full control of resources to see that an action/ task can get carried out.

The big problem is that most are given responsibility but not given the authority!!
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Administrator
#9
Randy said:
Lost, lost, lost......:nope:

I'll keep ya'll in limbo until tomorrow when I can get on the net without it crashing....

Keep guessing though.....:lol:
You keep me in suspense Randy.

I framed my answer in strictly simple, ISO-related terms.

Real leadership is another subject...This morning I listened to a news piece that starkly reminded me of the difference between responsibility and authority at present. But it's politically charged so I will control myself. :rolleyes:
 
L

Laura M

Guest
#10
Authority: Can delegate to those Responsible? :eek:

I think its a cultural thing. All employees have responsibility to fulfill their job responsibilities~run and measure parts. Employees may or may not feel they have the authority to, for example, shut down a process producing out of spec parts.
 
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