Defining authorities is a topic of current interest in quality management. One of the conditions in the IS0 9000-series deals with this topic. In this paper we will first examine the concepts of authority and responsibility, which are not at all univocally defined in organization literature. We will pay attention to the distinction between formal and factual authority and to various possible forms of overlap of authorities. We illustrate a management method in the use of convergence of factual to formal authority and responsebility. Finally we pose some questions on the relationship between authority and responsibility to various types of organizations in order to get a first idea to what extent it is desirable or possible to equalize factual and formal authorities.

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Keywords Authority, responsibility, formal and factual, organization theory.
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Journal Systems Research
Ahaus, C.T.B, & Van de Water, H. (1994). On Responsibility and Authority. Systems Research, 11(4), 77–102. Retrieved from