Difference Between Ownership and Accountability

We’re noticing a lot about just the gap between ownership and accountability nowadays. Managers and staff are unsure of what these terms represent or how to distinguish between them.

Hence, this article focuses on the differences and distinctions between these two terminologies in the segment of business and management as well as commerce and real-life applications.

Ownership vs Accountability

The main difference between ownership and accountability is that the term ‘ownership’ means the act of claiming and owning an asset or anything that is benefiting a business and running an organization. Ownership is the property of an owner and it can be passed on hierarchically as well as signed up with proper legal steps. Whereas, becoming answerable and responsible in a certain task or positioning is referred to as “accountability.”

Ownership vs Accountability

The contractual relationship between an individual (can be an asset like an organization or a group) and an item is referred to as ownership. The item might be physical, like equipment, or totally legal, like a patent, trademark, or annuities; it can be mobile, like an animal, or stationary, like property.

Now, the next term i.e. Accountability; taking responsibility for the consequences and results as a manager or a group leader helps to set the stage for a workforce and this is called accountability.

Accountability at the managerial level helps companies run successfully. You may benefit from strengthening your accountability abilities and expertise if you lead a team or hold a managerial role.

Comparison Table Ownership and Accountability

Parameters of ComparisonOwnershipAccountability
MeaningThe contractual relationship between an individual and an item is referred to as ownership.To be held accountable for your obligations and duties is to be held responsible and answerable to such actions.
Type of TermIt is a legal term.It is not legal but a managerial terminology.
RelationshipAsset and Owner.
Resources and Owner.
Leader and workers.
Manager and personnel.
Worker and his actions.
PropertyLegality and commerce based property and is independent of one’s personality.Personality based property which highlights the individual’s responsibilities. 
SynonymsPossession, proprietorship, freehold, etc.Responsibility, answerability, obedience, etc.

What is Ownership?

Ownership is really the condition of becoming an owner, to claim legitimacy. Private ownership very certainly entails that one’s state or society will assist in excluding others from using or enjoying one’s possessions without one’s agreement, which may be revoked only for a fee.

Several rights typically referred to as titles, are involved in the ownership and can be divided and owned by different political parties. The method and mechanisms of owning property are very complicated: property may be acquired, transferred, and lost in a variety of ways.

Purchasing it for cash, trading that for something more valuable, donating it as a gift, misfiling it, or getting taken away from one’s “ownership” by legal methods such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, possession, or seizing are all ways to move or lose property ownership.

Managers cannot compel employees to take ownership. It’s internal, as opposed to external, such as responsibility.

What is Accountability?

Accountability is not a sense of ownership or duty; instead, it is a procedure that is generally carried out externally. Somebody holds you accountable, but if you feel like you own something, you’ll hold yourself responsible as well.

The condition of being accountable; someone who is in control of a certain project or institution; the individual is required to answer for everything that happens as a result of his or her obligation; is accountability too.

The accountability system is used to achieve sustenance and stability amongst employees to comprehend what their supervisors anticipate from them, what greatness looks like in intervention, how they are performing against their targets.

  1. Defining, expressing, and articulating expectations so that all personnel is aware of what constitutes exceptional work performance.
  2. Providing workers with timely, frank, and unambiguous feedback on their performance.

Main Differences Between Ownership and Accountability

  1. Ownership is a personality independent characteristic whereas accountability is a personality-based characteristic.
  2. Ownership includes legal procedures whereas accountability doesn’t require any legal prophases.
Difference Between Ownership and Accountability


If a team and its manager lack effective communication skills, quality improvement initiatives will fall short. Offering growth potential at all levels of an organization demonstrates your commitment to your leaders and team members, who will become more invested in the organization as a result.

To grasp both, one is responsible in a situation to the extent that he or she has a sense of ownership over it. This is preferable since work will be completed more efficiently.


  1. https://www.definitions.net/definition/ownership
  2. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/accountability-definition-in-management
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