When Cesar Chavez went to Peter Drucker for counsel, he was told to make sure that his volunteers and employees had responsibilities in line with their authority. We asked our readers where, in government or business, they saw perilous mismatches between authority and accountability.
Reader Richard B Mann PhD said the biggest dangers are in the public sector:
In government, because of various laws, authority is denied, but responsibility is assessed. However, even though a person is responsible, he or she cannot be fired for serious mistakes. One area that I found particularly annoying was having to accept secretaries, assistants and associates already as part of my unit. Some were upset at having a new boss and subtly sabotaged programs or made it difficult to accomplish the required mission.
Reader Mike Grayson concurred, but on slightly different grounds:
The most dangerous mismatch between authority and responsibility lies with the government, and their eagerness to exert authority over fiscal matters but their complete lack of responsibility when it comes to cleaning up their mistakes.
Reader Linda Fishman said both government and business have major authority-responsibility gaps that are a threat to public trust:
It is indeed a paradox that corporations are treated as persons by our laws—yet the very structure of a corporation legally removes anyone from personal liability in civil matters. . . . The federal government is in some ways worse because it is so large and so lacking in transparency that it is impossible to find out where or who made any mistake.
Finally, on the question of whether or not India would be a good investment right now, reader Maverick18 said no:
All foreign investors are backing off because of the tax cases in which India is trying to reach back retroactively for years and impose taxes. . . . Drucker would not approve this attack by the Indian government on the golden goose.