Customer Driven Change and Vistage Chair
Hmmm. I see things differently.
Accountable & responsible are not synonyms.
Accountability is a management concept - it is external. We delegate our power to others then hold them accountable to do what we've placed on them.
Responsibility is a leadership concept - it is internal. We take our own power to do what we say we're going to do and even go beyond to do what we believe is best - even when that is beyond the scope of delegation.
Accountability leads to compliance. Responsibility leads to innovation. These are the classic Perato's of organization life - 80% of what organizations do is to achieve consistency, efficiency, and low risk buy holding people accountable for results that have been delegated to them; 20% of organization life is about renewal when people take responsibility to ensure the health & relevance of the organization because that's the best thing to do. I often hear managers say that their employees are not "accountable."
Accountability is not the job of the employee - it's the job of the manager - the manager holds the employee accountable through effective delegation & reporting. Usually managers mean that their employees are not responsible. That is, employees don't take on their internal obligation to do what they say they will do - and go beyond the box to do what is obviously right for the health & relevance of the organization.
Management science is plagued by the absence of a taxonomy (e.g. when are you leading & when are you managing?) As entrants come into our profession we do not have precision around our language - in fact we blur definitions to avoid conflict. Delineating accountability from responsibility would be a good start that will never happen. That's just my opinion. I could be wrong.