Accountability is a broad term and concept, utilizable in many spheres of epistemological discussions. However, in this case, accountability will be discussed at an organizational level and as a measure of quality in the precincts of an organization. Accountability for years has been viewed negatively; the comprehension of accountability can attribute this as a parameter for explaining failure. This is seen as the traditional interpretation of accountability where the focus is aimed at taking responsibility when things go wrong. It involves people having to explain their actions after a particular wrongdoing occurs or simply taking the blame (Bivins, N.D).
As much as accountability may allude to one being answerable to his or her actions in an organizational setup, of late the term has been used more vividly to capture more aspects of employees and employers behavior within an origination. It has particularly been used as a determinant of success or failure within an organization. Accountability has stopped being seen as a matter of just fulfilling a job description, but as a means to examine how far organization goals have been met (Partners in Leaders, 2009).
Accountability in an organization can be realized in many ways one of them being incorporating it into the organization's culture. This, in the end, will translate into positive outcomes for the organization by maximizing outputs and ensuring specific set targets are accomplished. There are several steps an organization ought to take so as to integrate accountability as one of its core values. This involves concerted efforts to set clear goals, aligning every employee's action towards them, instilling the accountability needed and lastly sustaining the change. This means that after an organization has set up the long term goals, every employee should be notified so as they can align their actions towards attaining the set goals. This backs up the argument that, when the employees do not fully understand their roles, or when workers roles are not clearly defined, the overall performance of an organization suffers (Texas Mutual Insurance Company., 2005). This, however, is not enough to create a culture of accountability. To achieve accountability fully an organization needs to initiate the following actions:
Internalizing the change. This concisely means ensuring that change occurs at a personal level in any member of an organization. One can take individual responsibility for any action rather than pass the blame to someone else. The energy that would otherwise be spent in the blame game is put to good use. This means the organization can be able to channel all its potential energy in achieving the organizational goals. Since everybody is seen as part of what it takes to realize the goals of an organization, it is possible to for individuals to evaluate themselves as to whether they are playing their part well. This helps to create a shift from the norm of simply doing the job to making sure that the aims of the job are being actualized. Another key focus in attaining an accountable culture is collaboration or alignment of workers role to the goals set. This includes aligning everybodys work in an organization so that no one operates in isolation. It includes ensuring that everybody is aware that his or her work relates to that of everyone else in one way or another. This helps to create an organizations output and accelerates the rate of achieving accountability among the employees.
Once the mission of the organization is set, people are free to bring out the best in themselves by not simply following instructions but by doing, what it takes to achieve the goals of an organization (Partners in Leaders, 2009).
Accountability goes hand in hand with ownership. This means that for an employee or any worker to be fully accountable for his or her actions he or she needs to feel, as part of the organization they work in.
Real accountability is achieved when a worker feels obligated to give out good performance not as a job requirement but as a way of fulfilling his or her principles. Accountability culture in an organization should be fostered through deep entrenchment of a businesss core values. This assists majorly in giving a company a philosophical commitment to shaping the way people think in an organization. This allows clients to view it in line with its values and hence nurture loyalty from both the employees and the customers and hence they wouldnt want to let one another down (Rogers, Meehan, & Turner, 2006).
The organization values become a way of life for it making it easier to develop relationships, establish goals and manage conflict.it acts an inner compass that defines the direction an organization should take and hence in the long term assists in realizing the aims of the organization. This is because the employees take pride in what they do, and they can identify themselves with it. The same applies to the clients who feel like owners of the entity and hence feel a need to build it further (University f Florida Training and organizational development, Office of Human Resources, n.d).
Accountability is important to an organization for it helps cultivate positivity and moral in the running of the organization. This stems from the feeling of ownership brought about by accountability. This is because once an individual has been tasked with job aimed and achieving the overall goal, they give it the best shot for they can be able to associate their work with a particular course. Their view of the job is not limited to only performing the job but it is focused on achieving the overall objective. They can feel as solution givers and their worth in the project is enhanced. This forms part of the basis of emotional intelligence within a business set up.
The role of positivity within an organization cannot be underlooked. Optimism boosts the morale of employees ensuring high output. It also helps in dispelling any malignant pessimism that may be lingering within the organization. Negativity is harmful to an organization and if not put out it may spread hampering the operations within the organization. This with time manifests itself in a bad performance and low output (Tye, n.d).
Good communication is also essential in attaining accountability in a workplace. This is because while changing culture in an organization people need to be notified of what needs to change and what is expected of them (Mryers, Gardener, Withrrow, & Capston, n.d). While a change of culture might simply mean complying with new rules, for it be successful; people need to be trained on new ways of performing their responsibilities. This can be achieved through good communication, which acts as an enabler of cultural change within an organization. Good communication will help in correcting the behaviors of employees deemed to contravene the norms and ethos of a good accountability system. Since a culture change within an organization involves a change of habits, it is appropriate to draft and communicate to the employees the way they should act for the general good of the entity (University of Wollongong, 2014). This should include internal training of employees on the way they should groom, the way should treat people, the way should communicate, the new target and objectives they will be required to meet and many other new demands they may be needed to adhere to ensure a cultural overhaul.
A cultural change may encompass a total shift in the way an organization functions; it may include new deadlines for jobs, new budgets requirements, and new times for reporting for work or checking out, all this needs to be communicated to the employees distinctly for them to transform completely. It needs not to be disclosed as a punishment but by making sure the workers feel like part of the change. This helps in changing their mindset and goals for the betterment of the organization (Fargionni & Coles, N.D).
A change of culture whether in accountability or any other aspect of an organization is determined substantially by whether individual workers are willing or can change. This is because; employees are the ones in charge enrooting an organizations culture. It starts with them starting to live the change through. The way employees appear interpreted in light of the organization and hence key focus should be on cultural change should be directed to them. All the plans laid out should be premised no employees as key drivers of cultural change within an organization. This should start at the management level for it is the managers responsible in setting the mood and working climate within an organization. It is true to say that leadership influence is amenable to culture. A brief analysis of the history of top managers changing the culture of an organization validates this statement. In the case of Jan Carlzon who changed the SAS Airlines from an inefficient, money-losing enterprise into a top provider of quality in the world. His key focus was a change in culture where he emphasized on putting people first (illustrated in his book moments of truth). On the other hand, another business leader Robert Nardelli is best known for bringing down the entrepreneurial culture of home depot. Afterward, he had to leave after being paid more than $200 million. This shows that organizations are made of culture, and their leaders play a great role in ensuring whether a culture survives or disappears into oblivion. Culture is, therefore, a great determinant of whether an organization succeeds or not. This, therefore, calls for organizations to recognize the vitality of managers and other leaders while drawing up accountability plans for their organizations (Tye, n.d).
In conclusion, it is clear that a culture that embraces accountability is very imperative to an organization performance. It is therefore for institutions to encourage accountability if they are to maximize on their outputs. To achieve this, they should also emphasize on workers of their work for the greater good. Even though accountability involves a complete transformation in employees behaviors and their modus operandi, it also requires significantly a change in beliefs, values and principles, teamwork being the most important one. For that reason, it is important for organizations intending to uphold accountability in the workplace to the factor in the facts identified.
Bivins, T. (N.D). Responsibility and Accountability. 22.
Fargionni, M. C., & Coles, R. (N.D). Employee Accountability versus Culture of Entitlement. INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT CONSULTING GROUP*, 3.Mryers, V., Gardener, L., Withrrow, S., & Capston, C. (n.d). EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE ACCOUNTABILITY AND COMMUNICATION. marines, 7. Retrieved from www.hqmc.marines.mil's
Partners in Leaders. (2009). Achieving Results Through greator accountability. Creating a culture of accounatibilty, 10.
Rogers, P. (2006). Bain and Company, 12.
Rogers, P., Meehan, P., & Turner, S. (2006). Building a winning culture. Bain and Company, 12.
Texas Mutual Insurance Company. (2005, May). Texasafe: a Guide to a culture of total safety. Safe Guard. Retrieved from www.texasmutual.com
Tye, J. (n.d). Moving from a Culture of Accountability toward a Culture of Ownership The Next Frontier for Customer Service, Operating Productivity, and Employee Loyalty. Value coach inc, 16.
University f Florida Training and organizational development, Office of Human Resources. (n.d). Creating a Culture of Accountability: It Begins With You. 2.
University of Wollongong. (2014). Roles and Responsibilities for workplace health and safety. 11. Retrieved may 22, 2016
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