Difference Between Responsibility and Accountability


Main Difference

The main difference between Responsibility and Accountability is that in Responsibility, a person does what he/she is asked to do and in Accountability, a person agrees to do, what he/she is supposed to do.

Responsibility vs. Accountability

Responsibility is task-oriented. Every individual on a team may be responsible for a given task that is required to complete a massive project whereas accountability is what happens after a situation has occurred. Responsibility can be shared. You can work with a group of people to divide responsibilities; on the other hand; accountability is somewhat that can be specific to an individual depending on their skill set, role, or abilities. It is how you respond and accept ownership of the results. Responsibility centralizes on defined roles, job descriptions, and phenomenons that must be in place to accomplish a goal; on the contrary, accountability is devoted to the successful completion of tasks assigned to you and is willing to take responsibility for everything that happens as a result of the actions that take.


We accept responsibility ourselves but, on the other hand, we are retained accountable by someone else. We can only prefer to take responsibility for something. There are no other can assign responsibility to us whereas accountability means we are amenable or answerable for our deeds to someone or some authority. In respect of employment – we are told that in the context of our job we have definite responsibilities but, in reality, these are duties of our job that appointed to us. This is accountability. If we told or ordered to do something we do not always feel sincerely responsible or wholeheartedly committed.

Comparison chart

Responsibility is the condition of having a duty, of doing irrespective it takes to complete the task.Accountability is the condition, wherein an individual is anticipated to take ownership of one’s actions or decisions.
Assigned to do the workMake the final decision about the work including “yes” and “no” authority plus veto power.
Not measuredMeasured
What is it?
The duty to perform the assigned task.Accountability for the consequence of the assigned task.
Arises From
Done but not entirely.Not possible.
Number of Persons
Many people can be responsible for the actionOnly one person can be accountable for the action

What is the Responsibility?

Responsibility defined as an obligation to perform or complete the assigned task. The subordinate has to complete the delegated task adequately. It developed out of a superior-subordinate relationship, where the secondary is bound to perform the task allocated to him by the senior. Hence, the stream of responsibility is top-down, as the subordinate is responsible for his/her senior. Responsibility is the covenant of an individual, whether a head or any other employee of the organization to perform the task or duty designate to him by the head. The one who accepts the task maintained responsibility for their performance, i.e., when an employee takes the responsibility of operation, at the same time, he becomes responsible for its consequences too. Responsibility is an existence you’re needed to do as an upstanding member of a community. It is the social force that connects you to the lines of action demanded by that force.


  • Operating Responsibility: Operating responsibility is the liability of a person to perform the assigned tasks.
  • Ultimate Responsibility: Ultimate responsibility is the final liability of the director who ensures that the task is done efficiently by the employees.

What is Accountability?

Accountability is one condition of an effective and influential leader in the workplace. It defined as taking ownership to assure responsibilities achieved as expected. Accountability needs a mental shift in the workplace; leaders have to be ready to give up a followers’ mentality and productively focus their efforts to assure that they achieve results. Accountability is one way to create trust in the workplace. Companies benefit from leaders who are accountable because they can quickly identify problems and cope up with a possible solution. It’s important to illustrate examples of behaviors that employees should follow, as this can prove to be an asset to any company because it can raise productivity. Accountability is vital to workplace success. Without it, an organization can endanger its current and future goals. When leaders don’t provide as expected, the company may meet a variety of losses. The company may also acquire expenses because they had to hire someone else to do the job or had to use further resources to deliver the final product. Leaders who are not accountable for their deeds, and in turn their consequences, can significantly influence the customer experience.

Key Differences

  1. The state of having the duty, of doing whatever it seizes to complete the task, is known as responsibility. The condition, wherein a person is awaited to take ownership of one’s actions or decisions, is called accountability.
  2. Responsibility is assigned whereas accountability is accepted.
  3. Responsibility is assigned but not completely, but there is no such thing like delegation of accountability.
  4. Responsibility relates to the obligation to perform the assigned task. On the other hand, accountability for the consequence of the assigned task.
  5. The inception of responsibility is the assigned authority. On the contrary, accountability arises from responsibility.
  6. The execution of a person not necessarily deliberated when he/she is responsible. Unlike, accountability, wherein the person’s performance deliberated.
  7. Responsibility is being, wherein an entity is held responsible before or after the task. In contrast to, accountability where an entity can only be accountable after the task performed or not performed satisfactorily.


Upon examining the points, there is no doubt that accountability constructs the person accountable for the impact of the deeds or decisions made by him/her. As against this, impacts are not necessarily related to responsibility. Further, accountability needs a person to be liable and answerable for the things; he/she does. Conversely, responsibility assumes a person to be trusty and dependable to complete the tasks appointed to him.