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|English to English translations [PRO]|
Bus/Financial / business report
|English term or phrase: responsibility vs. accountability|
|I cannot make the difference between the terms "responsibility" and "accountability" which appear in the same sentence|
"balance between individual responsibility, information access and accountablity"
|responsibility more general and more core than accountability|
1. \\\"Responsibility\\\" Versus \\\"Accountability\\\"
\\\"Responsible\\\" includes \\\"accountable,\\\" and \\\"responsible\\\" is the more general term. Though these two terms are often used interchangeably, each one has a distinct focus. Webster\\\'s dictionary distinguishes between the synonymous uses of the two terms in this manner: \\\"responsible\\\" implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust; \\\"accountable\\\" suggests imminence of retribution for unfilled trust or violated obligations. 
A fine line occurs when we distinguish between the terms in usage. \\\"Responsible\\\" is the \\\"more general,\\\" does not focus so much upon a \\\"specific authority\\\" and refers mostly to \\\"general laws of right\\\" and the \\\"moral constitution of the universe\\\"; on the other hand, \\\"accountable\\\" refers to specific trust that is given and always involves a superior. 
\\\"Responsibility\\\" focuses more upon what one can and should do, more upon an individual\\\'s personal integrity with respect to a specific task: that is, if one is responsible for an action or a thing, then that person has a clear duty to do that action and take care of that thing. To be \\\"responsible\\\" for some action means to have not only a great teleological concern for the outcome of the action, \\\"responsible\\\" also means that one has some kind of clear obligation for doing the action or bringing the action to fruition. While \\\"being responsible\\\" always has other persons in mind, the focus of meaning is upon the individual\\\'s effort and duty and obligation.
\\\"Accountability\\\" focuses more upon what others including God expect from the person who is accountable. \\\"Accountability\\\" includes judgment and the extent of judgment for the success or failure to \\\"do,\\\" \\\"complete\\\" or \\\"protect\\\" that for which a person is held accountable. \\\"Accountability\\\" assumes a prior \\\"responsibility,\\\" for we always lay out what we expect before we can lay out what the consequences will be for failure to meet the expectations.
In a sense, \\\"responsible\\\" refers to how an individual should view that for which he or she is made responsible with respect to initiative and integrity. We can tell if a person is responsible when we judge that person\\\'s motives, intentions, and carefulness with respect to the task. \\\"Accountable\\\" refers to how the individual will be judged and thus either rewarded or punished. We can tell if a person is accountable only when we know who they have to answer to with respect to how well they accomplished the task and what reward or punishment was meted out.
So we can say that we are \\\"responsible\\\" without actually being \\\"accountable\\\" to anyone in particular. But if someone is \\\"accountable,\\\" therein is assumed a responsible party able to meet the demands of the higher authority to whom they will give an accounting.
In a summary distinction, \\\"responsibility\\\" focuses for the most part upon all of the elements of duty up to the point of decision, and \\\"accountability\\\" focuses for the most part upon all of the elements of duty after the decision is made.\\\"
Just to add that in my experience, \\\"responsibility\\\" is being responsible, doing the right thing, etc., whereas \\\"accountability\\\" is to be seen to be responsible, do the right thing, etc.!
Hope this helps
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