You must have heard the phrase that authority comes with responsibility, which means a person who has authority also have responsibility. The person who has authority can legally give orders to his subordinates and ask them to perform certain tasks.
However, responsibility, on the other hand, is the duty of a human being or employee to perform a job. Both superior and subordinate has the responsibility to complete the job, but only a superior can have authority to give orders and compel them to perform tasks.
In this article, you will learn about both authority and responsibility with the help of examples and key differences between both of them.
What is authority?
An authority is a power to give orders and ask your subordinates to perform certain duties. Authority can be given to a person by government’s executives, owner of an organization, or by the representatives of GOD.
An authority is a legitimate power to influence people to compel them to perform the task given to them. For example, a mob has the power to punish a criminal, but they don’t have legitimate authority to punish the criminal.
The authority lies in the hands of the law. Similarly, in an organization, the authority lies in the hands of a manager to get organizational tasks accomplished by his subordinates.
However, the authority of the manager is limited to a particular department of the organization. He has no authority on his employees outside the organization.
Authority is the consequence of the position of an individual in an organization. A person can only be at the superior position of the organization if he has authority; a person with no authority can never be on the top position of an organization.
Therefore, the degree of authority is highest at the top level, and its degree keeps on decreasing the levels of the organization. That means only a person at the top level can give orders to the people at a low level and can compel them to perform tasks given to them, and a person at lower level can’t give orders to the people at the top or his peers.
Authority can be of two types such as official authority (where authority is given to a person by the organization he works for), and other is a personal authority (where authority is given to a person because of his ability to influence people in the organization.
What is the Responsibility?
Responsibility is a moral duty or an obligation of an employee, whether he is a manager or subordinate to fulfill the task given to them. The responsibility starts as soon as the job is assigned to the employee and finish with the completion of the task.
The person is responsible for the consequence of his performance in the task. The responsibility comes with authority.
A manager is responsible for the accomplishment of the task. The responsibility moves upwards in the organization from a lower level of employees to the upper level of management.
The responsibility is originated from the superior-subordinate relationship in an organization. Because of this relationship, the manager can do a task from his subordinates with responsibility.
Difference between authority and responsibility
|An authority is a power or right that a person gets because of his designation, role, or job.||A responsibility is an obligation that an employee has to fulfill the work bestowed on him|
|An authority is the outcome of a formal position in an organization.||A responsibility is the outcome of a superior-subordinate relationship.|
|An authority is a legal right given to a person.||A responsibility is consequence of authority.|
|It is a delegation of authority.||It is an assumption of responsibility.|
|The flow of authority is from the upper level to lower level.||The flow of authority is from lower level to upper level.|
|Authority requires the ability to give orders.||Responsibility requires the ability to follow orders.|
|The authority lasts for a long period of time.||The responsibility ends as soon as the work bestowed on the employee is complete.|
|The objective of the authority is to make decisions and implement them effectively.||The objective of responsibility is to perform duties effectively assigned by the superiors.|
Conclusion – Authority and Responsibility
In the end, authority and responsibility are two sides of a coin. Responsibility comes hand in hand with authority. However, it is important to bestow some responsibility to a subordinate to make sure that the task is performed by him successfully.
Greater authority comes with greater responsibility. The one who enjoys authority with no responsibility can never accomplish work given to him successfully. Therefore, it is important to ensure a balance between authority and responsibility.
Everyone in the organization has authority as well as a responsibility, but the degree of both varies from the lower level to the upper level.