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Discussion – Responsibility and Accountability

Discussion – Responsibility and Accountability

Although these two concepts are used interchangeably, they mean different things. Confusion arises due to the various translations that seek to show the two as meaning the same thing (Appolo, 2016). The difference between these two terms lies in the way each is examined in relation to action and an actor. Being responsible means that one does what they are asked to do. For instance, it is the responsibility of a leader to delegate duties to subordinates and mentor them so that they can be future leaders. Accountability, on the other hand, means that one undertakes to do what they have agreed to do (Surbhi, 2016).

Another distinguishing factor is that responsibility is assumed while accountability is imposed. This happens in light of the expectations that people have on those who need to be either responsible or accountable. Responsibility is an obligation to perform an expected task, and as such, it is assumed by the individual expected to be responsible. Accountability, on the other hand, denotes answerability towards completing a task (Surbhi, 2016). In most cases, accountability is imposed on people in the position of leadership so that they are held liable for all their actions. Accountability imposed on subordinates by seniors is often for the completion of assigned tasks. It should be noted that accountability arises as a result of a certain responsibility, hence the confusion in using the two interchangeably. Lastly, the delegation of responsibility is possible, as seen in leaders assigning part of their roles to their juniors. Accountability, on the other hand, cannot be delegated, and one is held personally liable for their actions without the possibility of shifting it to another person (Skousen, 2016).


Appolo, J. (2016, December 8). Accountable versus responsible. Forbes. Retrieved from

Skousen, T. (2016, April 12). Accountability vs. Responsibility in Project Management. Retrieved from Partners in Leadership:

Surbhi, S. (2016, June 22). Difference between responsibility and accountability. Retrieved from


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Responsibility and Accountability

Responsibility and Accountability

Regarding the leader, what is the difference between responsibility and accountability? Are they the same or different?

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