I am trying to understand if ownership exists at all in a job. In sales, you can work hard on one account, and the account can be moved elsewhere for a number of reasons. In business development, you can manage a relationship and build a strategy just for the account manager to kick you out. In product management, you are supposed to be "the CEO of the product", the product owner, but even then priorities "change all the time". I am trying to identify job opportunities where I am assigned to work on something with specific R&R, and specific boundaries; a job where I know what I am responsible for. The aim is to focus on my work. I don't want to interfere in other colleagues' work, and I don't want others to invade what I am working on.

I want to believe there are jobs where R&R are well defined. So the question is:

How to identify roles where R&R and ownership are specific? (examples from different roles/industries, and different levels of seniority, are welcome)

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    What do you mean by "owning"? Only being responsible for one product and nothing else? Then you need to find a company with only one product. Possibly a start-up. If you mean really owning a product and being responsible for everything, the positive and negative, you need to start your own company. There arent a lot of companies that assign only one product to one employee forever. The ones that do usually fail. If not immediately they will fail when one employee leaves.
    – bibleblade
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 8:31
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    Why do you say that for example Sales doesn't have clear R&R? You say the account can be moved elsewhere, but that doesn't really have to do with roles/responsibilities, that's just a business decision, isn't it?
    – Jeroen
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 8:32
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    One thing to be very clear: "ownership" does not mean "absolute control". Ownership means knowing how things work, what's going on, your R&Os and making improvements. You should have enough knowledge of your job to anticipate circumstances outside your control that can affect your deliverables and communicate / escalate them properly (e.g. one of your accounts is constantly complaining about not receiving correct invoices - you need to communicate this issue to Accounting and escalate if needed before the buyer decides to move the account from your company) Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 8:50
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    The Product Owner example you give doesn't show priorities or R&R being changed. It shows that if the context the product exists in changes - eg, changes in the strategy of the overarching business or changes in the market caused by a competitor/regulator - then that causes the Product Owner to change their priorities for the product. The PO's R&R remain the same throughout that change - to set the priorities. There aren't really any problem-solving jobs where you won't have to change what you work on if the problem you're trying to solve or the context you're trying to solve it in changes. Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


If you want well defined roles and responsibilities you need to have them written into your contract and include provisions that do not allow the company to deviate from the defined roles and responsibilities.

The problem with this, however, is that most companies would not agree to such a rigid contract. Flexibility is important to any business and any potential employee that would prevent such flexibility would likely not be worth most companies time.

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    The other problem is: even if you are contracted to a very specific role, if the business requirements change, you may find yourself redundant. Be careful what you wish for, as they say.
    – musefan
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 16:40

Unless you own the business, you can't stop the business owners changing things. If your job is to pack boxes, then that's a well defined role. But of the business buys a box packing robot, then they won't want you packing boxes any more. Similarly, if you are in charge of worldwide sales of product X, you're going to have to do something else if product X is discontinued.

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    Even if you OWN the business, some changes can't be stopped (e.g. government-driven changes, market changes, etc.) - you either adapt or you're out of business Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 12:46

Plenty of roles are clearly defined.

When I was a planter in a forest, I planted trees.

When I was a sprayer, I sprayed.

When I was a painter, I painted.

When I was a cleaner, I cleaned.

When I was on a powder coating line in a factory, I hung things on the overhead conveyor before they went into the cleaning chamber.

List is endless.

The issues you seem to be dealing with are in my opinion both recent developments and mostly first World or even mostly Western. They seem to stem from less ingrained professionalism in the workforce and a modern work ethos/looser hierarchy and control in some places. This is from the outside looking in though, I may be wildly off track.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 23:59

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