Showing posts from August, 2008

Essential Management Semantics - Responsible vs Accountable

I've had a discussion at the office about who is responsible for a certain activity. And as expected, the junior colleagues got into a discussion of who is more and who is less responsible for the activity. The Information Technology Infrastructure Library ( ITIL ) defines two distinct roles:  Responsible and Accountable If you open Websters dictionary ( ) and look up the adjective " responsible " you get the following description: answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management If you do the same for " accountable " here is what you get: subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable . It is a common sense to assume that "accountable" and "responsible" are synonyms. But both in Management and IT their meaning differs slightly and that makes all the difference: Accountable is the PERSON  (singular) who answers for