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Definition of Responsibility

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Definition of Responsibility

Lesson Content

Responsibility is a form of trustworthiness. With responsibility individuals are usually answerable to someone for something. It’s a force that binds individuals to a certain course of action and sometimes determines one’s conduct.

As Peter Drucker put it, “Executives owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate nonperforming individuals in important jobs.”

The definitive factors of responsibility include accountability, self-control, and ownership.

Accountability is the individual or departmental responsibilities to perform a certain function and the obligation to bear the consequences for failure to perform as expected.

Self-control is control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions, by one’s own will and controlling your impulses.

Ownership is the exclusive right of possessing something in the workplace such as personal behaviors, deadlines, and performance.

A responsible individual is one that can be held accountable for their actions. Individuals of an organization must be responsible for effectiveness to occur. Whether it’s a timely task completion or ensuring quality products or service, individuals of an organization are trying to achieve a common goal and are therefore held accountable for completing certain tasks.

Responsible individuals are those that you can count on to complete their tasks no matter what obstacles they must overcome. This reliability factor establishes trust and confidence in the supervisor/employee relationship.

Self-control is necessary to stay on an ethical track. Individual workers at times need to pass on an immediate gratification for long term benefits. Everyday situations occur in which you will have to make a choice regarding your actions and how you will let your emotions determine your behavior. Individuals have a choice, their own choice, to take responsibility for them, to not act angry or upset, to not leave their work for others to do, and to always be on time for work.

Workers who are responsible pass on positive information to coworkers; they share the knowledge of their successes in hope to influence others. A responsible person has ownership for their work including the quality of products and service they produce. A responsible individual does not blame inefficiencies, mistakes, or lack of productivity on the part of others, but takes ownership for the results and helps to determine a solution for a better outcome.

Organizational responsibility can exist in many forms. Many large corporations support ethical labor practices by refusing to distribute goods manufactured in “sweat shops,” or manufactured with potentially dangerous materials. They are at the forefront of demanding high quality and safe products for consumption.

Other examples of ethically responsible organizations are those that practice fair trade, resisting the temptation to take advantage of the general public with unnecessarily high prices for items that are essential to life.

Let’s review the definitive factors of responsibility:

  1. A responsible individual is one that can be held accountable for their actions.
  2. The reliability factor of a responsible individual establishes confidence and trust in the leader/member relationship.
  3. An individual with ownership does not blame inefficiencies, mistakes, or lack of productivity on the part of others.
  4. Self-control involves the ability to pass on immediate gratification for long term benefits.
  5. In addition to individuals, corporations play the part of being responsible by supporting ethical labor practices and practicing fair trade.
Dawn Tedesco


Dawn Tedesco

Dawn Tedesco has over twenty years’ experience in operations and human resources management in the hospitality industry. Dawn has designed, developed, and facilitated training for several large organizations and specializes...

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