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Personal Responsibility

P. Alex Linley and John Maltby

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Personal responsibility is concerned with people taking individual accountability for their decisions and actions, together with the outcomes they create and their impacts on others. It is about feeling that one is the author of one's own life, accountable for the life that is created and the impacts caused through one's decisions and actions, both on oneself and on others. Within philosophy, the concept has been referred to as moral responsibility , although with a narrower focus on causal accountability for actions either undertaken or not undertaken. Personal responsibility is differentiated from civic or social responsibility , which is concerned with our collective responsibilities to each other as human beings. The constructs are, however, related. Personal responsibility is understood at the level of the individual; civic or social responsibility is understood at the level of the collective. Responsibility is often also defined from the perspective of legal culpability but the concept of personal responsibility differs from this constrained definition, being focused more widely on a prospective, future-focused sense of the need to take actions that will deliver appropriate outcomes over time, rather than a retrospective, past-focused accountability and culpability for previous actions. On this basis, personal responsibility can be understood as actively taking responsibility, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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