CEO Refresher has an interesting article on what it means to be accountable in organizations.
The authors (Shaun Murphy, Ph.D. and Bruce Klatt, M.A. are senior partners in Murphy Klatt Consulting) list the following six principles that form the foundation for negotiating and understanding accountability:
I. Accountability is a Statement of Personal Promise
II. Accountability for Results Means Activities aren't Enough
III. Accountability for Results Requires Room for Judgment and Decision Making
IV. Accountability is Neither Shared nor Conditional
V. Accountability for the Organization as a Whole Belongs to Everyone
VI. Accountability is Meaningless Without Consequences
BOTTOMLINE: Organizational accountability entirely subverts the tendency to make excuses and shift blame. When employees make clear and specific commitments for their own work based on clear expectations and proportional rewards, entire organizations become aligned and achieve specific measurable results.