Obligation vs. Responsibility

By Jaxson

  • Obligation

    An obligation is a course of action that someone is required to take, whether legal or moral. There are also obligations in other normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, religious and possibly in terms of politics, where obligations are requirements which must be fulfilled. These are generally legal obligations, which can incur a penalty for non-fulfilment, although certain people are obliged to carry out certain actions for other reasons as well, whether as a tradition or for social reasons.

    Obligations vary from person to person: for example, a person holding a political office will generally have far more obligations than an average adult citizen, who themselves will have more obligations than a child. Obligations are generally granted in return for an increase in an individual’s rights or power. For example, obligations for health and safety in a workplace from employer to employee maybe to ensure the fire exit is not blocked or ensure that the plugs are put in firmly.

    The word “obligation” can also designate a written obligation, or such things as bank notes, coins, checks, bonds, stamps, or securities.

  • Obligation (noun)

    The act of binding oneself by a social, legal, or moral tie to someone.

  • Obligation (noun)

    A social, legal, or moral requirement, duty, contract, or promise that compels someone to follow or avoid a particular course of action.

  • Obligation (noun)

    A course of action imposed by society, law, or conscience by which someone is bound or restricted.

  • Obligation (noun)

    A legal agreement stipulating a specified payment or action; the document containing such agreement.

    “X shall be entitled to subcontract its obligation to provide the Support Services. >”

  • Responsibility (noun)

    The state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable.

    “Responsibility is a heavy burden.”

  • Responsibility (noun)

    A duty, obligation or liability for which someone is held accountable.

    “Why didn’t you clean the house? That was your responsibility!”

    “The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world – Harry S. Truman”

  • Responsibility (noun)

    The obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. With responsibility goes authority to direct and take the necessary action to ensure success.

  • Responsibility (noun)

    The obligation for the proper custody, care, and safekeeping of property or funds entrusted to the possession or supervision of an individual.


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