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Accoutability in the world

Dissertation : Accoutability in the world. Rechercher de 48 000+ Dissertation Gratuites et Mémoires

Par   •  4 Mars 2018  •  Dissertation  •  1 755 Mots (8 Pages)  •  440 Vues

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“Accountability breeds response-ability”

This quote by Dr Stephen Covey an American educator and author, used in numerous academic papers not only has a double meaning with the word “response-ability” but is in a way a short summary of how a leader or a person/institution in a power position often held accountable, should react. First things first let’s start by defining the three key words, to be accountable is as defined by the Cambridge dictionary is to be “completely responsible for what is done, being liable” and “Accountability means the obligation to give an account.” (Perks 1993, p. 24) one synonym could be “responsible” although the first one cannot be shared. To “be accountable requires action from the authority holding you to answer for your actions or lack of actions”. (Bill Dann, Professional Growth Systems) Which takes us to the second definition which is responsibility, the state of having a duty to deal or not with a matter. The third word “breeds” which is the link between the two words indicates that the accountability produces de facto a state where we should be able to respond in a timely and proper manner. This means that there will be consequences for not fulfilling the commitment. “Leaders don’t wait for the perfect moment to make things done they take the moment and make it perfect” (Unknown)

It is bearing this idea in mind that we will see two parts for this essay, the first one with relevant examples where accountability mechanisms have failed the second where the same mechanisms succeeded in either case we will see how did governments, organisations, or individuals respond, or not respond, to the requirement to be held accountable.

The first case study has been previously discussed in class and involves the British Petroleum (BP) Oil spill of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico this is a very good example of bad management and failure of accountability mechanisms, the oil spill occurred as a result of the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The blowout and oil spill was caused by a flawed malfunctioning well. The presumed blowout preventer wasn’t working properly, and this played an important role in the accident. (Philip Sherwell, The telegraph) (Associated press Washington, The guardian) This resulted in an accident killing 11 crew members, local activities such as tourism and the fish stocks suffered, it is only after 87 Days that the well was closed. In this case three of the eight accountability mechanisms have been switched , the first one was the hierarchy mechanism, indeed two plus months after the Deepwater horizon incident the CEO Tony Hayward has resigned after pressure both from the public and the shareholders (shares) thus linking this first mechanism to the other two, the public reputational one with the market one, right after the catastrophe the share prices dropped by around 55% (Marketrealist and Yahoo! Finance) and protests sparked stateside, organisations such as Greenpeace got involved too , this resulted in a bad public reputation for BP which suffered furthermore as the share prices have plummeted continuously for nearly two months. (The guardian Gallery, The guardian)

Here the accountability mechanisms didn’t work as they should have, indeed the public and shareholders (market) did “retaliate” to the accident by selling shares and the Federal government fined BP, but in a pure hierarchy mechanism point of view, the BP board was not response-able in the sense that the CEO which was accountable for the BP oil spill still had the full confidence of the board of directors of BP was not removed until several months later, this shows that their response time was slow and that in this case accountability didn’t breed response-ability to a certain extent. The Obama administration was blamed also for their minimal response to such event.

Another example of non-response-ability and non-responsibility is the F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet fiasco, which is a project by Lockheed Martin which aims to modernise the US air force fleet. In this particular case it looks like nobody is responsible nor accountable.

Indeed, the project is years late for delivery, way over the budgeting line and has still some major problems including too heavy to operate helmets that cost more than 400K, Radars malfunctions etc (Guy Birchall and Carri-Ann Taylor, The Sun). This is the result of a negligence made by most of the governments involved as they agreed to go ahead with the production before having all the tests complete, this was made to speed up the process of production and therefore the creation of jobs sooner, so both defence companies and the government are inclined to strike a deal quickly. This flawed practice has delayed the project by 7 years because when testing reveals a problem all the planes are already delivered or being delivered are sent back and retrofitted. This project has costed an estimated 400 Billion so far to tax payers not only in the U.S but also worldwide, here the response-ability to the problem is frozen due to the accountability mechanisms, indeed the termination of such “obsolete” project would mean the termination of 146 000 jobs in The US alone. (Lockheed martin F35.com) The project has also “in hostage” 8 other countries which produce one or multiple parts of the Fighter Jet, hence anything done to stop the F-35 project could hurt foreign relationships. Parts for the plane are produced all over the country maximising the number of stakeholders and ensuring broad bipartisan support in congress.

Furthermore, the termination then would mean a hit for the public relation accountability mechanism, and an electoral accountability mechanism as well since the officials that were appointed through elections; as is the case of congressmen in the US, will be the power-wielders and are accountable to the electorates that would lose the job if the project is stopped. Another mechanism that is triggered as well is the market accountability since customers and investors make decisions on the basis of the information they have

on the company and the products and services they offer and if the government(s) dump the project of the “too big to fail” company, investors will start divesting. This would have a non-negligent impact on the US and worldwide economy for Lockheed made sure to implement in many states in order to have senators and congressmen side with them. This strategy is called political engineering, defence companies get more business and more jobs are created which generates a tremendous political support and a widespread political impact and therefore, it looks like the accountability has been reversed as the principals became the defence contractors and the federal and state governments the power wielder fearing to do anything because the loss of jobs in their states would mean economic crisis and loss of votes in the upcoming elections as said previously.

On the other hand, a good example of accountability mechanisms generating a good response-ability would be the case of Lt-Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the 28th of September 2017 after being informed that racial slurs were written on the dormitory message boards of five black cadets at the academy’s preparatory school, he proceeded to surround himself by 1500 members of the faculty, and delivered a speech, condemning such acts.

“If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, get out.” This speech, recorded the 29th of September one day after the information was given to him, shows a rather fast response time and is a clear example of response-ability and responsibility, meaning that because he was the superintendent of the school, power was delegated to him by the Air Force Chief of Staff Grl. David


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