Introduction to Responsibility Charting

As organizations become more complex and fluid, traditional organization charts are often unable to describe how people actually need to work together — they do not capture the nuances and particularities that accompany specific issues.  Responsibility Charting addresses the question of who needs to be involved – and at what level – for specific decisions or projects.

Responsibility Charting is a tool for improving decision-making and has the following benefits:

  • Improves accountability and sharpens patterns of delegation;
  • Provides a shared, effective language about authority and responsibility, and;
  • Clarifies roles amongst individuals, units, departments, or divisions.

Responsibility Charting Resources

We have both general and Lawrence University–specific resources to help you get going with Responsibility Charting.

More general resources from Jim's visit include:

Improving Decision Making Through Responsibility Charting Guide

This document provides a detailed explanation about Responsibility Charting in text format.

Responsibility Charting Meeting Presentation 

The Responsibility Charting presentation can be used to better understand Responsibility Charting, or to train a group or department. This presentation is long (25 pages) and is not customized for Lawrence University, but provides good detailed information and examples. 

New, customized resources for Lawrence University include:

Responsibility Charting LU Presentation

The Responsibility Charting presentation can be used to better understand Responsibility Charting, or to train a group or department. This presentation is shorter (13 pages) than the general presentation and includes Lawrence-specific examples and tips.

Responsibility Charting Template

The Responsibility Charting template is a tool, which will enable your team to determine ownership and accountability in a decision. The chart will assist you in laying out who the approver of the decision is, who has the right to consultation, who must be informed before the decision is announced, and who is responsible for pulling it all together.

Responsibility Charting Workshop Agenda

The Responsibility Charting Workshop Agenda is a sample agenda for a 1-hour meeting where a group can be trained on Responsibility Charting and draft a RACI chart for a decision of the group’s choosing. Contact your HR representative if you would like assistance in facilitating a session.

Successes in Responsibility Charting

Brokaw Central

"Responsibility charting has changed the way Brokaw Central staff approaches and talks about things.  When a question comes up about who is going to do something or where decision making belongs, you also start to hear, “Who‘s the ‘A’? Who’s the ‘R’?” or maybe “I’m a ‘C’ on that one!” While the terminology brings some humor to it, putting the process to use has helped us work through ideas and issues in a way that ends in resolution with everyone knowing what is expected of them."

Life After Lawrence

"Having common language as we develop new initiatives will be helpful to organize workflow and responsibilities. Responsibility charting can be helpful to identify expectations and goals earlier in the process with key players to avoid misunderstanding as the project moves forward. Responsibility charting helps departments understand who needs to be involved in the project and clarifies communication channels. Overall, the experience provided valuable insights as we implement our strategic plan."

Responsibility Charting Contacts

If you are interested in bringing Responsibility Charting to your office/department, contact one of the individuals below:

Name Phone Email

Tina Harrig,
Associate Director of Human Resources


Lisa Van Zeeland,
Human Resources Manager

Kelsey McCormick,
Project Specialist/Sustainability Coordinator

Jenna Stone,
Executive Director of Budget and Planning, Financial Services





In December 2018, Lawrence University hosted Jim Krantz to engage campus groups in decision making through Responsibility Charting. The Consolidated Student Services and Life After Lawrence teams received comprehensive training and began charting decisions within their scopes. Additional campus representatives engaged in the training. These representatives will act as on-campus resources and continue providing training to other divisions.

Jim Krantz Biography

WorkLab Organizational Consultation and Applied Research

Prior to founding WorkLab, Jim worked as a consultant with the Wharton School’s Center for Applied Research and the Tavistock Institute in London. He has held faculty appointments at Wharton and Yale, and has taught in numerous other settings including INSEAD, McKinsey’s Center Asian Leadership, and Columbia University. In addition, he served as Assistant Director of Wharton’s Leadership Program.

Jim’s collaborative model of consultation recognizes that the unique characteristics of each organization must be understood in order to arrive at individually tailored, workable solutions. He helps clients address the need for significant change by emphasizing the importance of careful analysis to avoid prematurely jumping from “symptom” to “solution/technique” without understanding the critical underlying systemic factors. He also works extensively with leaders and teams, helping them face difficult issues and improve decision-making.

Jim has published widely on organizational performance, the impact of emerging social trends on the challenges of management, and issues of leadership in contemporary organizations. Jim holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Wesleyan University, and received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Systems Sciences from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.