Accountability LO13633

Gray Southon (
Fri, 16 May 1997 18:44:32 +1000 (EST)

Replying to LO13605 --

Accountability has an ideal and a reality.

We always need to be matching ideal and reality..

If an ideal is continually being corrupted by reality, is that a problem
with the ideal or the reality?

We need to pay more attention to professionalism.

Professionalism arises because there is not an obvious connection between
what we do and what the outcome is. We need to learn those that have done
it before, and have theories about the connection. It also involves an
ethic about what is important in doing this. We set up training programs
to enable this to happen. We need to do this in many areas because life is
too complex.

However, this system is inherently conservative, socially, technically,
and institutionally. So we ignore it when we want rapid change. And then
we are left with the problem of connecting what we do with what we want to
achieve. We often then pick on ideologies - management has a whole
succession of them (flavour of the month).

How can we be accountable for the result of what we do when there is an
uncertain connection between the doing and the achieving?

I believve we need to learn more from professionalism - can it be revived?


At 09:24 PM 14/5/97 -0400, Edwin Brenegar III wrote:

>Accountability is strange issue. It is usually viewed as whose ox is
>being gored. But I think that it is because it is usually conceived and
>practiced in one direction, top down. Meaningful accountability is
>mutual, meaning that both parties are responsible to the other. And it is
>constructive, not puntative. If this type of accountability is to ever
>occur, it will because the leadership of an organization is realistic,
>humble and courageous enough to accept it. I don't see that happening in
>too many places. But people are talking about it, and it is usually the
>customer who is most concerned with it.
>Up until two years ago, I always worked for someone. I now work for
>myself, and find that the accountability issue is still there. Do I
>really want evaluation forms filled out on my performance as a presenter?
>Do I really want to know what people think? What I find is that they are
>more generous about my limitations than I am. And that hard criticism is
>often about something over which have little control.
>So it may be enough that we talk about accountability a lot, and somebody
>decides to hold us accountable for all our noble talk, and put us to the
>test, in a constructive, learning organizational manner. Those are the
>kids of friends and clients I want.
>Thanks for great thought on an important subject.
>Ed Brenegar

Gray Southon
Consultant in Health Management Research and Analysis
15 Parthenia St., Caringbah, NSW 2229, Australia
Ph/Fax +61 2 9524 7822, mobile +61 414 295 328
Web Page:


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