Role Accountability and Authority
Roles and role relationships are the building blocks of employment systems. The structural design of how these building blocks fit together is of key interest for every CEO and manager concerned with creating an organization that is designed to succeed over the long-term with sustainability and growth.
– assigned positions in the organization, each with specific accountabilities and authorities,
– organized by the business functions required to achieve on organizational goals and objectives.
As with any structure, the goal is to create an organization that is capable of anticipating and adapting in stormy business times and, at the same time, is innovative and able to capitalize on opportunities in sunnier times.
– define the goals which the occupants are striving to achieve, and
– give direction to the expected behaviors of people in the organization by clearly defining the accountabilities and authorities the role holders are required to exercise, and
– establish the boundaries within which employees function, releasing creativity within policy-controlled boundaries.
Often, in an effort to get satisfactory “team work” or in an effort to get the work integrated across functions, companies create and assign multiple roles to individual employees, or create additional roles, layering on new confusion … when what was needed was not the creation of a new role or position in an organization, but clearly defined accountabilities with the corresponding authorities necessary to carry out all the work that needs to be achieved.
Accountability: situation where an individual can be called to account for his or her actions by another individual or body authorized both to do so and to give recognition to the individual for those actions.
Authority: legitimated power: that is to say, power vested in a person by virtue of role to expend resources-material, technical and human.
Accountability is assigned to the role – the accountability comes with the role and when you agree to accept the role in the company, you are accepting accountability for doing your best to achieve targets and for working within the boundaries of the organization’s values, work-methods, resources, etc.
Responsibility is assumed by the individual; it is something you feel you must do as a person – as a matter of your personal values. It is not an assigned aspect of a particular role, it is something you choose to take on.
Readings in Jaques’ Requisite Organization, A Total System … for the 21st Century, second edition [ISBN 1-886436-04-5], see Role Relationships, or How People Work Together, page-pairs 77-94.
In Manager roles much of the required output is delegated to subordinates to execute through completion of task assignments.
Managerial work is about effectively using the resources available to the role (people, budgets, equipment, support functions, etc) to create and execute
their plan for achieving all the assigned goals within resources and time.
Managers must build a team capable of executing the required
output and must provide effective managerial leadership to their subordinates.
See also the section on Employee accountabilities below.
– own personal effectiveness in the role
– output of subordinates – quantity, quality, within targeted completion time and with resources allocated
– exercising managerial leadership through use of the RO Managerial Leadership Practices
– building and sustaining effective teams
– continual improvement of the work system, process, planning, execution of work, etc. in their area of control
– veto selection of unsuitable candidates for subordinate roles
– assignment of accountabilities/tasks to subordinate roles within the resources allocated and agreed with the Manager’s manager
– effectiveness appraisal and merit review of subordinates, not recommending but deciding re appraisal and changes in pay grade
– initiate removal of subordinate from a role in Manager’s team, within the policies and due processes of the organization
Individual Contributors are those roles which are accountable to produce the assigned direct outputs themselves, and do not delegate
direct output tasks to subordinates. Individual Contributors may have a team in place to support them in producing the Direct Output the
Individual Contributor is assigned. In this case, the Individual Contributor also has managerial accountability [see above] and is considered
an Individual Contributor/Manager. See also the section on Employee accountabilities below.Manager-once-Removed roles are 2 full levels of work above their Subordinates-once-Removed. They are the manager of the Manager.
These roles have special accountabilities around the development of the talent pool and career mentoring of their
Subordinates-once-Removed [SoRs]. MoR accountabilities are for:
– assessing, mapping and developing a Talent Pool from the pool of SoRs in his or her area of control
– assessing quality of subordinates’ Managerial Leadership and hearing appeals when necessary
– create three-level leadership and team-working with subordinate Managers and their teams
– authorize cross-functional working relationships within the MoRs subordinate teams
– assess Subordinate-once-Removed [SoR] Current Potential Capability
– assign Subordinate-once-Removed roles to work bands [and thus, to correlating pay bands] as a resource allocation to the subordinate Manager
– using their endeavours to apply their employed level of capability to achieve the output assigned to them
– when circumstances make it likely that outputs cannot be achieved, or that more could be done, they must notify their Manager of this in time for adaptive action to be taken
– advise their Manager when they have ideas or information which they believe might be helpful
– seek special consideration from their Manager when circumstances are such that they cannot work at their best
Readings in Jaques’ Requisite Organization, A Total System … for the 21st Century, second edition [ISBN 1-886436-04-5], see Role Relationships, or How People Work Together, pp 77-85.
The focus of many of the current management models are either on the individual or the manager subordinate relationship. Because Requisite Organization focuses on the design of the managerial system as a whole, requisite principles not only address the vertical managerial relationships, but the lateral or cross-functional task initiating role relationships (TIRRS) as well.
A cross-functional task initiating role relationship (TIRR) is a specified connection between roles of different functions, delineated by well articulated accountabilities and authorities, to ensure the integration of work assigned by managers of different functions.
Jaques identified seven cross-functional task initiating role relationships (TIRRS) which are sufficient to produce this functional integration in any organization, anywhere in the world.
Role Relationships: The accountability and the authority obtaining between any two roles in a social system. The seven cross-functional task initiating role relationships are: collateral, advisory, service-getting, monitoring, coordinative, auditing, and prescribing.
Readings in Jaques’ Requisite Organization, A Total System … for the 21st Century, second edition [ISBN 1-886436-04-5], see Role Relationships, or How People Work Together, pp 86-94.
Continuous Improvement is understood to be desirable, but often its execution fails to be sustainable over the long-term. With the introduction of the quality movement, continuous improvement has often been left to the initiative of individual employees to gather in small teams, and figure out how to make improvements.
In Requisite Organization, continuous improvement is not left to chance. It is not a fad and it is not left to an individual employee’s discretion on whether to work on improving processes. Rather, continuous improvement is built into the managerial system; it is a function of every managerial role. Every manager at every level in the organization is held accountable for improving processes, with particular attention on reducing process variance.
Managers are held accountable for reducing the cost of conducting business, improving the quality of goods and services, and increasing efficiency and flexibility of operational processes, to achieve the CEOs long-term strategic plan.
Readings in Jaques’ Requisite Organization, A Total System … for the 21st Century, second edition [ISBN 1-886436-04-5], see Immediate Mgr-Sub Managerial Leadership, pp 112.