Difference Between Authority and Responsibility

Difference Between Authority and Responsibility

In general, power always comes with duties, but only someone who has been granted legal authority may force someone to do a particular job. People are required to carry out their duties, either by force or via their commitment, when they are responsible. Orders may be given by an authority, and it is one’s duty as a responsible person to obey them.

Authority Vs. Responsibility

When a person is appointed to a position of authority, he or she has the power to direct others and make his or her own judgments. From top to bottom, authority is the most prevalent scenario. A person who has been given a particular assignment has a responsibility to be accountable for their actions.

Even at the top of the pyramid, there is a duty to care for those who depend on it. As a whole, they’re commonly misunderstood by the general public.


Influence and command are lawful powers that may be exerted via authority. Position and level of consent are usually required, depending on the hierarchy in the organization.

In addition to a person or organization, authority has a wider context since it is anchored in social hierarchy or social order as well.

An entity in a higher position has greater authority, and the degree of authority falls as it descends in rank.

Top-to-bottom, reality or fiction, from boss to subordinate or divination to its followers, there is a continuous flow of information.

There are three types of legitimate authorities, according to Max Weber, a sociologist and philosopher.

  • It’s a kind of strength that comes from the charisma of the leader, a person or organization that exhibits exemplary conduct and bravery. As a few examples: adherents of certain religious organizations; celebrities; international leaders; and martyrs/divinity.
  • A traditional authority is one that is recognized by the sacredness of history. When it comes to this kind of authority, societal trends and the status quo are often ignored. Heredity frequently plays a role in the transfer of power. Hereditary rulers, such as the Tudors of England and the Yamato of Japan, serve as notable instances.
  • Legal-rational authority — unlike conventional and charismatic power – is a distinct sort of authority. Law or natural law are the sources of its authority (rationality). Depending on the demands of the community, its policies and personalities vary throughout time. Modern democracies, for example, have elected leaders elected by the people, or in a company, shareholders vote for the CEO.


In the context of power, responsibility refers to a duty or obligation that must be fulfilled. The instant an entity gets such authority, they are held responsible, and this is something that cannot be delegated.

As a follower and a follower-in-chief, it is primarily responsible for enforcing the highest standards of ethics and morality.

A business director, for example, has the authority to define standards, enforce work ethics, and enforce regulations for the good of the firm.

It’s also his job to make sure that his subordinates are adhering to this standard. Delegating power always includes a sense of accountability and duty.

Having too much responsibility and not enough authority might lead to a lack of success.

A wide range of roles are being taken on in today’s society.

It is the obligation to behave in the best interest of society and the environment as a whole, which is called social responsibility.

It is more often referred to as “Corporate Social Responsibility,” or “CSR,” these days. Its mission is to boost the market value of a company by making a beneficial contribution to society, the economy, and the environment.

When you take personal responsibility for your actions regardless of the consequences, you’re not blaming anybody else for your actions.

When two parties agree to behave in the best interest of the other, they have a fiduciary responsibility. There is a fiduciary, and there is a receiver known as a beneficiary. A trustee and its beneficiary, or a lawyer and his client, are excellent examples of this kind of obligation.

Civic Responsibility: This is the term used to describe individual accountability and commitment as a citizen of one’s own nation. Whether it’s a volunteer fire department or a government initiative to further the interests of the nation, everyone may become involved. South Korea’s two-year mandatory military service is an example of this, which requires nearly every male to enlist regardless of status and has only a few exemptions.

An individual has a duty to pay all taxes and government fees mandated by law, as well as any penalties or interest that may accrue.

Difference Between Authority and Responsibility

  • The major function of authority is to issue instructions, while the primary function of responsibility is to hold others responsible for their actions.
  • The legal right to command, influence, or coerce another person is what is meant by authority, but the legal duty to do so is what is meant by responsibility.
  • Through charm, tradition, and the law, anybody may be given or given authority. Responsibility is also being assumed for tasks that have been delegated.
  • Responsibility rises from the bottom to the top, while authority descends.
  • In order to make a choice and delegate it, you need an authorizing party. Responsibility, on the other hand, entails accountability for the work done.


Both sides of a coin have authority and responsibility. Having authority entails a duty to ensure that it is in sync with one’s authority.

Having too much authority and not enough accountability might lead to misdeeds. Similarly, if you have too much responsibility and not enough authority, it will be useless. Therefore, a delicate symbiosis between the two is essential.

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