Accountability in the Workplace

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Accountability means that workers should do what is required of them within a stipulated time frame agreed upon (Bustin, 2014). Any organization which lacks an effective system of employee accountability will hardly realize its goals; hence, there are approaches managers can use to hold themselves accountable for meeting professional goals.

One such technique is task mapping; a simple, and powerful tool that enables a manager to address substandard performance by breaking down each task into individual work tasks and specific functions. This way, workers will stop wasting time trying to figure out the person required to carry out an assignment and instead enjoy a rewarding period of high performance. Another technique is to develop a culture of trust and empowerment. Empowering staff members to manage their schedule and providing the team with the ability to control their own schedule requires a level of trust. For instance, this trust can be by allowing workers to collaborate with each other to ensure full shift coverage across the entire staff schedule.

An increasingly popular technique of defining management is enabling people to do their best work. This involves creating a work environment in which workers feel highly motivated and contribute to the best of their ability. For instance, by understanding the fears and concerns of workers and moving the obstacles out of their way, helps maintain a positive work relationship. Another key element is effective communication which helps workers to feel more engaged with the firm, and reduces the likelihood of developing crises. An example is organizing social events to help create bonds among the workers.

Ethics in the workplace refers to the application of a set of values, standards of behavior, or moral principles regarding accepted conducts in a workplace as in a group and individual setting (Kaptein, 2013). In hindsight, ethics can be described as the right thing to do. Essentially, workplace ethics can build trust; it can establish pleasant, productive work environments which are characterized by increased levels of responsibility, accountability, respect, and fairness. One key element of ethics is that it does not apply to just a single person, rather it applies collectively to others. This includes employees as well as external stakeholders; hence the concept of workplace ethics carries with it the conception of something bigger than an individual. The underlying message is that if any worker has to defend their behavior on ethical grounds, positive ethical behavior means that they cannot point only to the merits it brings them; rather they have to address themselves to a larger audience.

How ethics is judged and recognized is majorly derived from actions and words, for example, by an organization's decisions or an individual’s behavior, and by whether those actions or decisions are perceived as right or good subject to the impact on others. People read the norms applicable to them from others’ behavior, particularly their role models. In a similar context, social learning theory states that people learn what they should do from the behavior of others, and are most inclined to those that have significance in their lives (Kaptein, 2013). As such, organizations where the leaders set a good example, subordinates are highly likely to emulate the observed practices. However, when fraud and theft are commonplace, more unethical behavior will be observed throughout the organization.


Bustin, G. (2014). Accountability: the key to driving a high-performance culture. McGraw Hill Professional.

Kaptein, M. (Ed.). (2013). Workplace morality: Behavioral ethics in organizations. Emerald Group Publishing.

October 30, 2023


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