Understanding and promoting

The Grundl Leadership Institute
Responsibility Index

How is Germany handling Responsibility?

Why we initiated the Responsibility Index

When hearing the term „responsibility“, what are people generally thinking of? Does it evoke a feeling of joy and meaningfulness or rather that of heaviness and a sense of duty and obligation? The answer seems obvious. Picture this: someone is telling you “This was your responsibility!” Do you get a sense of success or failure? Here too, the answer seems obvious. Sadly.

This is what we would like to change. It would be a pleasure and an honor, if you helped us with that.

The Responsibility Index is aiming for representatively measuring the current state of responsibility of our society, displaying and publishing the results, which in turn will hopefully trigger open discussions about the topic.

One of these results is a self-test developed by us, with which you can compare yourself to our representative samples.

Boris Grundl Portrait

Are you leading an organization?

If so, maybe the following three questions might be of interest to you:

  • Are you interested in the quality of responsibility in your organization?
  • Do you want to represent premium-quality?
  • Would you be interested in ideas on how to increase the quality of responsibility?
  • Maybe then, it is time to contact us: Contact

Picture our society as an engine, then the economy would be its gears, responsibility the fuel and trust the transmission oil. The idea of this initiative is to be the spark that gets everything going. A platform for responsibility.

We take this idea, this concept, very seriously and thus are committing a substantial amount of resources and budget to this project. Additionally, we are always looking for support through multipliers, people, institutions, companies and corporation. Responsibility is for everybody, so anybody can be a part of it.

I am very much looking forward to lively discussions with you.

Your Boris Grundl

The Whole Story

The road to the Responsibility Index

How was this idea conceived? For more than 20 years I have been intensely devoting myself to the intricacies and the development of the human condition. An inner voice soon became a vocation and then a calling, finally resulting in the founding of the Leadership Institute.

As experts for vocational training, we see it as our duty, our calling, to teach leadership teams the principles, ideas and intricacies of leading, support them in improving their abilities and in turn use them more efficiently and effectively. It is not simply about training, but about actual transformation on all levels of hierarchy. That is our strong suit. Moreover, in order to maintain this strength we continuously review our position and ask ourselves what is human development really about.

For about four years, our experiences and intellectual effort have been increasingly focusing on the term and concept of responsibility. And responsibility with all its multilayered facets at its core most accurately describes human development.

What was most interesting to me personally was the fact that responsibility as a concept did not seem to have been the center of comprehensive research in any substantial manner. It seemed as though nobody had really done any focused long-term research about responsibility and its complexity, nor have they published anything practically relevant or substantial. From then on it became clear to me that I would want to change that.

Defining Responsibility

Conceptual understanding

What is Responsibility?

Generally speaking, responsibility describes the notion of doing the right thing, towards people, institutions, or just generally. Looking at it more closely however, one realizes that there are not too many terms that describe human interaction so intuitively and frequently, however, in such an undifferentiated manner:

We are responsible or irresponsible, make someone responsible, take full responsibility, ask for the responsible thing to do or behave responsibly. We consider something our responsibility, people run away from responsibility, repudiate responsibility, or are overwhelmed by responsibility.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The term responsibility is very complex and multi-faceted and is viewed in different lights depending on discipline or perspective respectively. In short, it depends on who is responsible for whom or what about what. Meaning, a person or institution is responsible for a person or object towards an authority. Taking responsibility can potentially be an active or passive process. While someone is actively taking, seeking or refusing responsibility for something or someone, they can also wait passively for responsibility to be assigned to them. So ultimately, it is a matter of I want to versus I have to.

The philosophical dimension

Philosophy as a scientific discipline generally takes a more normative perspective on responsibility. Under which conditions can a person or institution take responsibility? Philosophy is essentially discussing the following premises and parameters:

  1. A person has the freedom of choice regarding their actions or inactions and has the right to refuse responsibility a priori.
  2. The requirements and challenges in order to meet the expected outcomes of a given responsibility need to be both known beforehand and manageable.
  3. The consequences of any actions designed to fulfill the given or taken responsibility need to be measurable and assessable.

The psychological dimension

Psychology as a scientific discipline is naturally taking into consideration the question of free will or more specifically one’s ability to act or control. Here, the term of responsibility focusses primarily on the right thing to do or the right way to behave. The question however remains: what makes people choose their respective behavior?

  1. Social norms are generally defined as systems of conviction on how to behave or not to behave, guiding our behavior impartially and without the overall guidance of the law. Specifically, how responsibility is defined based on the respective environment or milieu.
  2. The concept of attribution is vital to understanding responsibility as it describes the process of attributing causes to outcomes, behavior, or personality characteristics. Ultimately: who attributes which responsibility to whom?
  3. Depending on their role, people of a certain stature or social position are met with certain expectations. Be they executives, managers, teachers, mothers, or politicians, expectations based on their role offer vastly different and particularly interesting perspectives, especially regarding politicians.

Measuring responsibility in three different dimensions

The logician and philosopher Robert S. Hartman has dedicated his work to the formal sciences of value, developing the Hartman Value Profile (HVP). This complex ranking order model is capable of precisely depicting a person’s worldview and self-view, while taking into account the person’s current stages of life. The model helps us to understand the basic value system of a person as well as their currently dominant values and attitude. Boris Grundl and Dr. Ulrich Vogel adapted and further developed the HVP in order to include the ability to incorporate a person’s perspectives on responsibility.

The human dimension
of responsibility

Incorporates a person’s feelings and sensations towards responsibility. Basic question: Who is in the position of responsibility?

The factual dimension
of responsibility

Incorporates a person’s perception and observations regarding responsibility. Basic question: What is responsibility?

The fundamental dimension
of responsibility

Incorporates a person’s perspective regarding the assessment and evaluation responsibility. Basic question: What is responsibility for?

The results aim at two different kinds of values:
Responsibility within our society and personal responsibility.


Describes the general perception of responsibility within our world and our society.


Describes the intrinsic perspective of a person regarding responsibility.


Survey Germany 2017

Origin, decent, and age distribution of participants

Representative sample

The survey was conducted within two weeks of March 2017. The sample was taken from all over Germany via online survey. On the basis of certain measures of representativity, data validity, and quality (e.g. implausible or overly fast answers) only a part of the originally surveyed 3000 participants has been taken into account for the final analysis and evaluation of the gathered data. Overall, about 1002 people’s answers were deemed representative and analyzed based on their age, sex and state.

Sense of responsibility
Taking responsibility
Taking responsibility for your life
Percentage of respondents based on their aptitude within the dimensions of responsibility (inward view)

Perspective on values "inward"

Sense of responsibility is the ability to realize, analyze and evaluate one’s potential to act responsibly.

Taking responsibility is the ability to realize when to take responsibility and how to monitor, assess, and act within this role.

Taking responsibility for your life describes the ability to realize in which way one is taking responsibility for their own values and ideals and how to adhere to these, evaluate them and live by them.

Recognizing responsibility in others
Realizing meaningful responsibilities
Responsibility as a principle
Percentage of respondents based on their aptitude within the dimensions of responsibility (outward view)

Perspective on values "outward"

Recognizing responsibility in others describes the ability to realize how people within society perceive responsibility as well as the talent to assess people based on their ability to be responsible.

Realizing meaningful responsibilities is the ability to realize which responsibilities within our society can and should be taken in a meaningful fashion and how to observe, assess and implement them.

Responsibility as a principle is the ability to recognize the principles on which a meaningful responsibility is based and how these principles are perceived and assessed.

Direct comparison between the focus of responsibility based on “inward” and “outward” perspectives. Percentage of respondents.

The responsibility of others is generally perceived more clearly than the responsibility of oneself.

About 6 out of 10 respondents (62%) perceive the responsibility of others (outward) much more clearly than their own (inward). It seems generally more likely that people push responsibilities towards others than taking it themselves. Only 18% of people focused on the “inward” perspective. For about 20% of people a certain balance between the two perspectives on values can be observed.

People generally perceive more clearly, what other people are responsible for than what they themselves are responsible for.

Only just about over every forth (28%) realizes responsibility with themselves more than with others. The majority of people can more easily assess what other people are responsible for and less easily what they themselves are responsible for. Conversely, for about a fourth (20%) of people this ratio is relatively balanced.

Direct comparison between the dimensions “responsibility as a principle” and the „responsibility of oneself “. Percentage of respondents.

„Responsibility as a principle” is more likely to be realized than the “responsibility of oneself“.

For about four times more of people “responsibility as a principle“ is more distinctive than “taking responsibility for their lives”, meaning that only one in seven respondents have the ability to differentiate more distinctly between the responsibility of self (inward) and the responsibility as a principle” (outward). This portion of people is more likely to realize why responsibility is such an important concept within our lives and in our world, rather than for themselves.

Percentage of respondents in the dimensions of “realizing meaningful responsibility“ and “responsibility as a principle“.

Principles are more important than actual realization and implementation.

About two thirds of respondents puts considerable focus on the overall principle of responsibility. Realizing meaningful responsibility however is much more likely to be disregarded. The attention is generally regarded more highly with the systematic understanding of responsibility than with factual responsibility. The “Why” is much more important than the “How”, meaning that the principle of responsibility is much more important to us than how it is actually put into action.

CategoryPercentage of respondents
  1. Honesty 16,6%
  2. Reliability 15,5%
  3. Consideration and willingness to help 13,4%
  4. Acting cautiously and thoughtfully 12,8%
  5. Diligence and conscientiousness 12,5%
  6. Punctuality 9,8%
  7. Ecological awareness and sensibility 9,8%
Most common freely mentioned categories based on the question of acting responsibly.

Spontaneous mentions regarding acting responsibly

"How can you recognize responsible actions?"
With this open question more than 16% of respondents mentioned „Honesty“ and more than 15% mentioned “Reliability“. On the negative spectrum of connotations “Selfishness”, “Thoughtlessness”, and “Indifference” were mentioned more frequently. Additionally, a lack of positive work ethics was also associated with irresponsible conduct.

Free Self-Test

Compare yourself to more than
1.000 participants from all over Germany.

Two tests – three choices

1. Benchmark Responsibility

- free of charge -

With our questionnaire you can assess yourself regarding how your quality of responsibility compares to the German average, free of charge. The respective analysis will be send to you via E-Mail immediately after the questionnaire. Test yourself now!

2. Focus Responsibility

113,00 € (incl. VAT)

A much more detailed feedback about your personal data, including practical knowledge, best practice ideas and impulses for improvement for only 113 Euros. The analysis is based on the Benchmark Responsibility Test data, so you will only have to do the corresponding questionnaire. Further purchase and order details will be transmitted to you with the free of charge Benchmark Responsibility analysis.

3. Leadership Excellence Report

790,00 € (incl. VAT)

If you are interested in having your leadership competences analyzed, the Leadership Excellence Report with its personalized feedback is for you. Based on your attitude and mindset towards responsibility, this report reliably measures your leadership competence. Basis for these measurements is the leadership system Leading Simple©, which divides 15 different modules into five tasks • Supporting People • Achieving Company Objectives • Creating Systems • Delegating • Controlling , five tools • Praise • Redirect • Criticism • Goal Oriented Task Descriptions • Budgeting und five principles • Taking Responsibility • Goal Orientation • Focusing on Strengths • Positive Working Atmosphere • Building Trust .

This test is designed to reveal and highlight potential next steps in your professional development. In a 50-minute feedback conversation via phone, we will convey to you how you could implement these steps, allowing you to systematically reach your full potential.

Are you interested in our Leadership Excellence Report? Then do not hesitate to contact us personally via E-Mail or phone at:
Grundl Leadership Institute
Phone: +49 7425 20997-0
E-Mail: info@grundl-institut.de

Group rates

Are you interested in measuring your entire team? Then we offer you at a minimum order quantity of 5 tests special prices, just contact us.

Test yourself,
no obligations, free of charge

How responsible are you? Test yourself and compare your results with over 1000 participants from all over Germany.

The development team behind the Responsibility Index

Since 2015 Boris Grundl, Christoph Moss, Hubertus Heuer and Ulrich Vogel have been consistently and consequently developing ideas to measure responsibility, trying to achieve one goal: motivating managers and leaders to take more responsibility.

Team Verantwortungsindex
From left to right: Philipp Walther, Hubertus Heuer (both Weiße Q), Corinna Wellnitz (PS:PR), Boris Grundl, Dr. Ulrich Vogel (profilingvalues), Prof. Dr. Christoph Moss (mediamoss).

In order to successfully implement ambitious and challenging ideas, a strong team of experts is vital. Responsibility is not something that can just be substantially researched without any effort and just with a few questionnaires. After two more years, the team was finally complete. However, having experts in a team is not necessarily a recipe for success. They still need to work well together. Which is something we believe we finally achieved.

Each meeting was not just fruitful and successful in terms of its outcome. They were also fun and inspirational. Something that could only be achieved because of the common goal, a goal that is bigger than every one of us, with a team that is much more than just the sum of its individually already immensely skillful and incredibly inspired parts. Our goal, understanding responsibility more fully, finding, and developing new ideas to further promote responsibility within our society.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Moss is the person responsible for the scientific approach and the communicative path of the Responsibility Index. Dr. Ulrich Vogel is responsible for the development and quality of the diagnostic tools Leadership Excellence Report and Focus Responsibilityfor measuring leadership competences. Hubertus Heuer is also responsible for the development of the diagnostic tools for Focus Responsibility as well as the data collection and scientific evaluation and analysis of its outcomes, including the Responsibility Index. Overall, a great team!

Prof. Dr. Christoph Moss


Prof. Dr. Christoph Moss is a professor and lecturer focusing on Marketing and Communication at the International School of Management in Dortmund and Cologne. He is also executive partner of mediamoss, his own communications agency, where he is intensely dealing with the organizational structure of communication, language, Corporate Social Responsibility and employee communication. In the past, Christoph Moss used to be editor in chief at Handelsblatt and the principal at Georg-von-Holtzbrinck school for business journalism. Before that, he worked for Deutsche Bank as well as numerous stations and newspapers in Düsseldorf, Passau, Dresden, Dortmund, Brüssel and Paris. Christoph Moss is also a valued member of many different juries for communication, journalism and literature.

Dr. Ulrich Vogel


Dr. Ulrich Vogel has been the founder and chief executive of profilingvalues since 2009. Before that, he was office manager at Neumann International, senior consultant at Mercuri Urcal and executive committee member of RayCon International. The valuable experiences he made during that time have proven invaluable for his later cooperation with Nobel price nominee Robert S. Hartman, from which they developed an innovative and extraordinary tool for the most important and relevant resource in business – people. The overall reach and spread of profilingvalues makes Ulrich Vogel a nationally and internationally highly sought after business partner and collaborator for managing directors and decision makers both within the industrial as well as the economic sector. Ulrich Vogel is highly regarded for his insights on strategic as well as conceptual issues regarding entrepreneurial as well as human resource related subjects.

Hubertus Heuer

Weisse Q

Hubertus Heuer is the chief executive and founder of Weiße Q, a market research and business consultancy company based in Dortmund, Germany. Weiße Q is specializing in data-based decision making and consulting. Hubertus Heuer is also a lecturer for qualitative as well as quantitative research methods at the University of Applied Sciences Europe in Iserlohn.

Boris Grundl

Grundl Leadership Institute

Boris Grundl is a management trainer, entrepreneur, author, and owner, founder and CEO of the Grundl Leadership Academy. He perfected the art of leading himself as well as others in order to reach their full potential on the highest level. He is regularly giving speeches and lectures about the leadership of employees, the responsibility of oneself as well as personality development both independently as well as a guest lecturer at many universities. His references happily confirm his excellence among other speakers, as no other excels in terms of both authenticity and depth. He speaks his mind, says what he means and means what he says, while staying humorous, precise and concise. Boris Grundl is a welcome guest and protagonist in many TV and radio shows in Germany (ARD, ZDF, WDR, MDR, 3sat, SWR, FFH). He is also speaking to young students quite frequently, giving them impulses and ideas on leading responsible lives. Boris Grundl was named “The Developer” by the Harvard Business Manager. Mr. Grundl is married with two adult kids, living in both Germany and Spain.

Video: Boris Grundl – The end of all excuses