On the Notion of Responsibility in Organizations

Posted: 23 Feb 2006

See all articles by Dirk Sliwka

Dirk Sliwka

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

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Abstract

We derive a natural definition of responsibility in a formal model where employees care for their career prospects: A superior holds a subordinate responsible for a task, when she announced her beliefs 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 then is affected by the outcome of the task and he therefore has strong incentives to contribute to its success. There are equilibria where either a single agent or no agent is responsible for a task but joint responsibility never arises. Several extensions are discussed.

Keywords: responsibility, career concerns, reputation, delegation, incentives

JEL Classification: D23, M12

Suggested Citation

Sliwka, Dirk, On the Notion of Responsibility in Organizations. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Vol. 22, No. 2, Fall 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=883696

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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