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Redundancy in Responsibility or Authority

Redundancy occurs when more than one person (or committee) has the responsibility to make a decision or assume a task. Redundancy becomes a problem when it allows tasks to be overlooked or decisions to be avoided. This happens when a person or committee assumes that someone else with responsibility for the same task will make the necessary decisions. This can be due to a misunderstanding, or it can be due to an intentional dodging of the task or decision.

Redundancy is best avoided by having only one person (or committee) responsible for each task or decision. Since this is impossible in a large organization, there must be an unambiguous protocol for allocating tasks and decisions among the responsible personnel. The protocol must also establish a system for handling problems that the assigned personnel cannot solve. It is important that such problems be brought to the attention of a supervisor for reassignment to new personnel. Reassignment should not be done by first level personnel; reassignment at that level will make it impossible to prevent the dodging of unpleasant tasks.


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