authority, responsibility and accountability in management

The position of each individual is to be fixed, i.e., whether he is to be in the position of authority or in the subordinate position. Authority Responsibility Accountability. In other words, authority flows downwards. An important principle of management governing this basic relationship is that of single accountability. An Organisation cannot survive without authority. For instance, a person possesses expert knowledge in a particular subject. It indicates the right and power of making decisions, giving orders and instructions to subordinates. According to George R. Terry—”Authority is official and legal right to command action by others and to enforce compliance.— In this way authority is exercised”—(i) by making decision, and (ii) by seeing that they are carried out through, (a) persuasion, (b) sanctions, (c) requests, and (d) even coercion, constraint or force. It depends to a large extend on the personal traits of leadership, ability to persuade others to work well to accomplish organization goals. A sub-ordinate accepts the authority of his superior because of certain factors obeying out of superiority, responding to the quality of leadership representing the duly constituted authorities, obtaining rewards and incentive from his superior, contribution to the realization of organization objective. 7. At the same time, the superior is accountable for the performance of his … So with the above discussion one can say that without authority, a manager ceases to be a manager. it is inherent in the task assigned. So accountability is the personal answerability for results. Accountability always flows upwards; it is the act of being liable for actions and decisions. It flows upward (i.e., sub-ordinate is responsible to his superior). In this the influence has an obligation to accept this power. But authority can be delegated. Source of Authority/Theories of Authority: There are mainly three schools of thought regarding the source of authority. The term responsibility is often referred to as an obligation to perform a particular task assigned to a subordinate. Authority, Responsibility and Accountability are Inter-related They need proper consideration while introducing delegation of authority within an Organisation. Authority vested in a managerial position is the power to use discretion, the power to create and maintain an environment for the performance of individuals working together in groups. Davis and Filley also agree with its each (organisation) member is obliged to report to his superior how well he has exercised his responsibility and the use of the authority delegated to him.”. The board of directors delegates authority to the chief executive and chief executive in turn to the departmental managers, and so on. The duty must be expressed either in terms of function or in terms of objectives. Physical limitations such as climate, geography, chemical elements and so on put limits on authority, for example, an order to make gold from copper will be ineffectual. When a subordinate is assigned some duties to be performed, he will be accountable to his superior for doing or not doing that work. Uploader Agreement. When a manager delegates a task, he assigns duties and delegates the required authority so that his subordinates can accomplish the task. All activities are combined and coordinated. Here’s how the two are different. The basic type of authority is line, staff, functional and committee. This power is based on the influencer having the ability to reward the influence for carrying out orders. It is an essential accompaniment of the job of management. From management’s point of view as George R. Terry has put it -“Responsibility is the obligation of a person to achieve the results mutually determined by means of participation by his superiors and himself.”. 5. Responsibility – It is an obligation of a sub-ordinate to perform assigned duties. ", According to Mooney and Reily, "Authority is the principle at the root of Organisation and so important that it is impossible to conceive of an Organisation at all unless some person or persons are in a position to require action of others.". There are three different schools of thought about the sources of authority which are discussed below: This theory states that authority is the power that is accepted by others. Generally, in business circles, both the terms, accountability and responsibility, are used interchangeably. He is given a right to command and to exercise control over those who are responsible for the execution of policies and programmes of the enterprise. Responsibility can be discharged by a single action or it may be a continuous obligation. A manager who has never thought about whether his orders will be followed or not and who has never considered ways of increasing understanding and acceptance of these orders, is not likely to be effective. For instance, the task assigned to employees must conform to the group’s fundamental social beliefs, norms, codes and customs. According to Henry Fayol, “Authority is the right to give orders and power to exact obedience”. The lines of authority are to be determined, a well-recognized principle, to be followed for any organization and management. The formal authority theory further states that the superiors have the right to delegate their authority. It is the relationship between two individuals i.e., superior and sub-ordinate. Thus, here the worker is using bell without formal authority. Without authority, a manager ceases to be a manager, because he cannot get his policies carried out through others. Copyright 10. On the basis of above definitions, the following features of authority can be identified: 1. Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability (continued) Ensuing Responsibility The prime task of every manager is the Assumption of Responsibility. Accountability is related to both authority and responsibility. Organizational objectives can be achieved through this authority. Accountability is the obligation to carry out responsibility and exercise authority in terms of performance standards established by the superior. When the duties are assigned, there will be two types of employees. Responsibility depends on the authority, if a person has more authority then its responsibility is more. It is the supreme coordinating power and is very important for the managerial job. A sales manager cannot ask his sales persons to sell products at a higher price in a highly competitive market. According to Davis, "Responsibility is an obligation of individual to perform assigned duties to the best of his ability under the direction of his executive leader." Thus, formal authority always flows from top to bottom. It is his responsibility. He is supposed to complete the job as per the expectations and inform his superior accordingly. Thus, the acceptance theory permits attention to the legal and social basis for authority. Top management must ensure that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned, communicated, and understood within the organization.The top management must primarily take accountability for the effectiveness of the QMS and understand that its success or failure depends on them. These questions are to be answered by the individual before he satisfies himself and his superiors that he has accomplished the job. An individual should be answerable to only one immediate superior and no more. These terms are: 1) Responsibility, 2) Authority, and 3) Accountability. On the other hand, the flow of authority is downwards because it is delegated to the subordinates. Therefore, the authority is known as formal authority. In management literature, responsibility is one of the most misunderstood words, usually, responsibility is referred to as ‘Delegation of Responsibility’ holding a person responsible or carrying out a responsibility. In a way through exercising the control the superior is demanding accountability from subordinates. There must be de-personalization of orders. They need proper consideration while introducing delegation of authority within an Organisation. If they do not do so, the employees may not contribute their efforts towards the attainment of objectives of enterprise. With accountability, someone is held to account and the action must result. Until and unless any performance is technically possible, an order to do any such work would be finite. In other words, authority is “a superior’s capacity on the basis of his formal position, to make decisions affecting the behavior of subordinates”. The subordinates are aware of the fact that if they disregard the formal authority they will be punished according to the rules and regulations of the company. He derives his authority from his formal position in the organization. Remember, that authority focuses on processes and responsibility focuses on outcomes. by the subordinates. It can be shared among a team – multiple people can be responsible for achieving a specific outcome by working on the same task, or have different tasks they are responsible for that lead to the same goal. A manager cannot take decision about unlimited number of sub-ordinates. Some say it right to act. Accountability arises out of responsibility and the two go together. Authority defines the decisions you can make but does not mention the results that you have to achieve, whereas responsibility addresses the results you must accomplish, but does not mention the decisions that you need to make in order to reach those results. Without such a power to enforce an order, the enterprise may become disorganized and chaos may prevail. Farland has put it-“Accountability refers the fact that each person who is given authority must recognize that the executive above him will judge the quality’ of his performance. i. To be clear, responsibility is essential in organizations. Normally the superior subordinate relationship gives rise to this responsibility as the superior is vested with the authority to require specified services from his subordinates. Authority, responsibility and accountability are very popular and widely used terms in management. This authority holds the organization together. Account Disable 12. In other words, a communication carries authority if it is accepted by the recipients as authoritative. The person who is involved in that emergency situation exercises the authority to handle that situation, though it is not formally delegated to him through the chain of command. Every employee/manager is accountable for the job assigned to him. The appointment and responsibilities for the accountable authority are set out in legislation. When these expressions ‘Authority’ and ‘Subordination’ are used, they should not create a sense of superiority or inferiority in the minds of the employees. Accountability, or an accountability is a contract between a manager and team member related to an agreed upon output. It always flows downwards from top to bottom of the organization. Davis, – “Responsibility is the obligation of an individual to perform assigned duties to the best of his ability under the direction of his executive leader”. By acting responsibly people will learn to trust that you will do what you say you agree to. Authority flows from the superior to the subordinate and gives birth to responsibility. Responsibility may be continuing or it may terminate with the accomplishment of a single action. Responsibility should not be considered merely as a desire to co-operate or to advance group objectives. Authority seems to flow from the superiors to the subordinates. A person must choose to take responsibility for something themselves. It shows that the manager has no real authority until and unless the individual sub-ordinate confers it upon him. When superior assigns any duty or work to sub-ordinate by his authority it becomes a responsibility on the part of sub-ordinate to perform that duty. It is neither authority nor responsibility. 4. It can be expressed by a list of specific duties which must be fulfilled to accomplish the function. The person holding the position has to perform the duty assigned.

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