I recently had a project which suffered a needless delay of a month because all three people involved thought it was someone else's turn to do something. My reaction was "Sigh, now finish the project". Their reaction was "See this chain of emails? I said here that I'm going to do this, how could you not understand?" I couldn't care less whose fault it is, but it's apparently their priority to make it clear that someone else is to blame for the wasted time.
Incidents like the following have also happened:
Me: For this project, these are the circumstances. You have a lot more experience at this than me, so you decide if we should do X or Y.
Them: I only do what people in your pay grade tell me to do!
In other words, although given the opportunity to make a decision (it was a pretty minor one too, they can bungle it completely and nothing terrible will happen), but they don't want to do it. Meanwhile, if I choose something that goes badly, they are completely blameless.
I'm wondering if this is an issue at the company culture level, or at the personal level. If the former, what can be done about it? If the latter, can it be solved at the HR level? How can one identify who's likely to do this during the interview?
Edit: details of the first situation if it matters: Alice, Bob and Charlie are the three people involved. Alice is supposed to coordinate, Bob and Charlie are supposed to do X and Y respectively. Charlie is waiting for Bob to let him know it's time to do Y. Bob does X. He suggests to Alice that they do X". Alice says it's a good idea, and she will do it. Two weeks later, Bob sends a reminder, and Alice says she's waiting for Charlie. Another two weeks later, Charlie sends a reminder asking why he hasn't heard anything. Alice and Bob quickly figure out that Alice thought she'll do X" after Y, while Bob thought Alice will do X" before Y, so he hasn't contacted Charlie.
For the second situation, this also happened:
Them: Do we do X or Y?
Me: Up to you, it's not a big deal either way. If you have no preference I suggest flipping a coin.
Them: So do we do X or Y?