Difference between Authority and responsibility

In an organization authority and responsibility go parallelly, these are important for the smooth running of business transactions. The difference between Authority and responsivity tells about the mental as well as physical activities while going the actual work related to the accomplishment of the task. Authority tells about the power to make the decision about the work and on the other hand responsibility tells about the obligation to perform the given task.

Meaning of Authority:

It refers to the power to do the work or to take the decision alone by the subordinate. It is the second step of organizing. In this managers keep in their mind that authority matching to responsibility should be delegated.  Authority determines the relationship between superior and subordinate. It moves downward. Authority is restricted by the laws and orders of the organization.

Features of Authority:

  1. It defines as a right to make a decision.
  2. Managers give direction to their subordinates according to the decision taken by them.
  3. It arises from the principle of the Scalar Chain.
  4. Authority always flows from superior to subordinates.
  5. Authority must be equal to responsibility.

                                                          Authority     =    Responsibility

Meaning of Responsibility:

It refers to the assignment of work or handover of the responsibility to do a particular work. It is the obligation of a subordinate to perform the task properly according to the assigned task. Responsibility creates a strong relationship between superior and subordinate. It flows upward because a worker or an employee always be responsible for his superior.

Features of Responsibility:

  1. Subordinates are obliged to perform, the assigned duty. 
  2. Subordinates are bound with their superior(manager) and they follow the principle of unity of command.
  3. Responsibility always flows upward.

The Chart of difference between Authority and Responsibility

Points of differences

AuthorityResponsibility
MeaningIt defines as a right to make a decisionIt tells about the obligation to perform the task.
DelegationAuthority can be delegated (Assigned) fully to the subordinates where the work is at a large scale.Responsibility cannot be fully delegated.
OriginAuthority comes(arises) from Formal PositionResponsibility arises from the delegation of authority.
FlowThe authority flows downwards means from Top level to Middle and then to Operation (low level).Responsibility flows upwards. In this, subordinates will always answerable and responsible to their manager.
Persons involvedTop-level managers, board of directors.It includes Operational staff works.
ExampleThe Boss or a manager give order to his subordinates to complete the task.For example, Subordinates receive the order and execute the same and complete the task on time.

Conclusion:

Thus, Authority tells about the power to make the decision about the work and on the other hand responsibility tells about the obligation to perform the given task. Authority always flows from superior to subordinates. On the other side, Responsibility always flows upward.

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