Who Is Responsible?
All of us have to be for everybody. What the individual does first is to
have the integrity of handling the truth.
Words create pictures in our heads and stir up feelings. The word responsibilityevokes images regarding leadership and power and stirs up issues of roles and status. Responsibility, according to Webster's dictionary, means being able to answer. Being able to answer tacitly implies the possession of sufficient knowledge, authority, and resources to respond.
Responsibility has both a personal and a systems dimension. Persons are autonomous agents; they manifest themselves in doing. Because everything that we do begins as some kind of thought, and because human beings and their systems are mutually enfolded, our inquiry into responsibility also seeks to discover the influences that worldview and the health care system have in shaping a person's behavior.
In systems language, when we ask, Who is responsible for the production of health? we are asking about socially sanctioned roles. We are asking about the capacity of those roles. On one hand, we are inquiring into the authority, competencies (knowledge, behavior, and attitudes), and privileges associated with roles that belong to health care. On the other hand, we are also inquiring into access to resources involved in healing. From a resource perspective, the question Who is responsible? is an inquiry into the role society has authorized as having access to the resources used in the production of health.
From Flood's perspective, however, Who is responsible? is an inquiry into who possesses the knowledge power. Knowledge power is the notion