The development of taking responsibility and its influence in organisations
by Beate Klutmann
International Journal of Learning and Change (IJLC), Vol. 2, No. 4, 2007

Abstract: Modern managers expect staff to accept more responsibility. However, not all of them want to take more responsibility. Others complain of not having enough responsibility entrusted to them and expect more autonomy and decision-making. In this paper, responsibility is defined as being accountable and fulfilling one's duty while being in charge. Responsibility here is defined as a part of personality and in the perspectives of work psychology. Using examples, the paper outlines how responsibility is regarded in the German context where some have distinguished between three different kinds of responsibility, hence the term 'Eigenverantwortung'. Responsibility has to be distinguished from proactivity – a related concept of ego-development and empirical results will follow. The latter showing some evidence for a developmental aspect in responsibility. What does responsibility mean to organisations? The paper connects responsibility and the feeling of failure and has a look at the developmental aspect. It is argued that there is a developmental aspect to responsibility and that you cannot demand responsibility when people are not well enough developed.

Online publication date: Fri, 18-Apr-2008

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