Sample #8: Roles vs Responsibilities

ROLES and RESPONSIBILITIES are *not* the same thing.

A role is a position that can be assigned to different individuals over time. The responsibilities that accompany that role fall on the individual who holds it for the moment. The image below shows you some examples of roles and the responsibilities they might entail.

Recall that if a statement is true because of some external document, it doesn’t become “more true” by repeating it in different policies. A new policy need only list the roles and responsibilities that don’t already exist!

Example 1: If the role of your IT group, as set out in the organization’s governance documents, is to purchase technology then there’s no need to put that statement into a policy to get it approved again. It’s neither a new role nor a new responsibility.

Example 2: If the job of the Director includes approving requests for training from their subordinates, that responsibility in itself does not create a new role of “training approver.” If it’s part of the job description of an established position, then it’s not a separate role.


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