Authority and Responsibility

The authority has the power to give orders and instructions to its subordinates that they may work. Responsibility means duties entrusted to a person at the time of delegation of authority.

What is Authority?

Meaning of Authority: – Authority is the formal right to act. Authority is the legitimate power of a person or group over other people. Henry Fayol defined authority as “the right to command and the power of precise obedience”. Authority empowers management to enforce obedience. It is the power to order and ensure that these orders are followed.

Authority and Responsibility

What are the sources of authority?

The sources of authority are as follows: –

  1. Legitimate Power: – It usually arises from the status quo and cultural system of obligations of our rights, and the duties whereby the “position” is accepted by the people as “legitimate”. The status of a private business arises mainly from the social institution of private property. In government, this right originates from the institution of representative government.
  2. Coercive power: It is derived from one person’s ability to instill fear in another person and is based on the subordinate’s expectation that punishment will be met for not agreeing or complying with superior orders or beliefs.
  3. Reward power: – The power of reward is the opposite of the power of coercion. This arises from the ability of some people to award. Purchasing positioning, with low position power, may be able to use considerable influence from their ability to accelerate or delay a much-needed spare part. Similarly, university professors have considerable award power, they can grant or withhold higher grades. Choose vacation time.
  4. Expert power: – It is the power of knowledge, skills and expertise in certain fields. Since superiors possess these knowledge, subordinates desire and fulfill their directions. Physicians, lawyers and university professors can have a great influence on others as they are respected for their specialized knowledge.
  5. Referent power: – Referent power is based on the recognition of a person’s faith as a leader who is held in high esteem, admiration, and often imitation by the subordinate.

What are the characteristics of authority?

The characteristics of authority are as follows: –

  1. Basis of getting things done: – Authority provides the basis for getting the work done in the organization. It refers to the right to influence the behavior of others in an organization with the performance of certain activities to meet defined objectives.
  2. Legitimacy: – Authority is accepted because it has some validity, that it acquires the right to safe performance from others. Such a right may be legal or formal, or it may be supported by tradition. Custom or accepted standards of authenticity. The authority of a manager is given to him to influence the behavior of his subordinates based on his position or office in the organization.
  3. Decision making: – It is a condition of authority. The manager may instruct his subordinates to act or prevent them from acting in a particular way when he has decided that in relation to the course of activities they perform.
  4. Subjectivity in Implementation: – Although the authority has an element of fairness about it, its practice is significantly influenced by subjective factors, such as the personality of the manager who is empowered to use it, in the context of a subordinate or group of subordinates to whom It has to be with.

What is responsibility?

Meaning of Responsibility: – Responsibility is the task assigned by managers to subordinates. It means an ethical commitment to do the work assigned. A person who does some work has a responsibility to do it. It is the obligation to complete the work assigned. It is the duty or task that a person is assigned to perform. “Responsibility is the obligation of a person to carry out the assigned tasks to the best of his ability.”

Authority and Responsibility

Concept of responsibility

The following points help in understanding the concept of responsibility: –

  1. It is the responsibility of a person to complete the work assigned to him.
  2. It cannot be delegated. Even where a superior representative gives authority to perform certain functions, he remains responsible to his superiors for those tasks.
  3. It should be appreciated with authority. Lack of equality between authority and responsibility will not achieve desired results.
  4. It flows from the bottom to the top. Each is responsible for his or her superior to carry out the tasks assigned to the subordinate.
  5. It can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. Preferably, responsibility should be fixed in quantitative terms as it helps to frame the standards of performance against which performance can be measured.

What are the forms of responsibility?

Threre are two forms of responsibility, as follows: –

  1. Operating Responsibility
    • Operating responsibility is the responsibility of an individual to carry out the assigned tasks.
    • Operating responsibility is the responsibility or obligation of the person who actually works.
  1. Ultimate Responsibility
    • The ultimate responsibility is the final obligation of the manager who ensures that the work is performed efficiently by the employees.
    • The ultimate responsibility is the final responsibility of the manager who get the work through the employees.

A manager’s ultimate responsibility is to get the work done by his employees (operating responsibility).

What is the difference between Authority and Responsibility?

It is the legal right of the superior to command his subordinates.It is the responsibility of a subordinate to complete the task assigned to him by his superior.
Authority normally arises due to the position of the boss in the organization.Responsibility arises from superior subordinate relations, whereby the subordinate agrees to perform such duties as he is assigned to.
Authority may be delegated by a superior to his subordinate.It cannot be delegated by the subordinate.
Authority flows downwards from superior to subordinate.Responsibility moves upward from subordinate to superior.

What is the relationship between Authority and Responsibility?

Authority and Responsibility

The relationship between Authority and Responsibility is given as follows: –

  1. The authority has the power to give orders and instructions to its subordinates that they may work. Responsibility means duties entrusted to a person at the time of delegation of authority.
  2. Authority may be delegated. Responsibility cannot be delegated.
  3. A superior can always share his authority with his subordinate. But a superior cannot delegate his responsibility or obligation to a subordinate to perform his duty.
  4. Responsibility is accounted to a person. Therefore, no subordinate can escape his responsibility by delegating certain rights to his subordinate. Responsibility always moves upwards and therefore cannot be delegated.
  5. Authority and responsibility are closely related. There should be parity between the two. The subordinate shall be accountable for the authority entrusted to him and not beyond.

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