On the Notion of Responsibility in Organizations

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Dirk Sliwka

Dirk Sliwka

University of Cologne - Department of Business Administration and Human Resource Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

We derive a natural definition of responsibility in a formal model in which employees care for their career prospects: A superior holds a subordinate responsible for a task when she announces her belief that this subordinate contributes most to this task. We show that those announced beliefs lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the reputation of the responsible subordinate is then affected by the outcome of the task and he therefore has strong incentives to contribute to its success. There are equilibria in which either a single agent or no agent is responsible for a task but joint responsibility never arises. Several extensions are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Sliwka, Dirk, On the Notion of Responsibility in Organizations (October 2006). The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 22, Issue 2, pp. 523-547, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098684 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jleo/ewj012

Dirk Sliwka (Contact Author)

University of Cologne - Department of Business Administration and Human Resource Management ( email )

Koln, 50923
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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