Accountability has been a leading topic in the minds of global business leaders and political leaders, while accountabilityÕs function seems to be diminishing within the leadership hierarchy. Many people ranked accountability as one of the top challenges within their companies; hence, there is a need to improve accountability in business and wider society, including the public sector. Accountability has been identified as a complex process in literature. While existing literature has also identified factors that influence accountability, there is little empirical research on the influence of individual culture on accountability. For the purpose of this study, individual culture was the expression of norms, values and customs, which are exercised and expressed through behavioural characteristics. This study aimed to gain insights on how individual culture influences accountability. Understanding how individual culture influences accountability in the workplace will assist senior managers in organisations to use individual culture better to drive accountability for improved performance.
The study followed a qualitative, exploratory research method to gain new insights on how or if individual culture influences accountability in the workplace. For this purpose, 11 semi-structured conversational, in-depth interviews were conducted with senior managers who came from five industries: information, communication and technology (ICT); the public sector; retail; financial services (banking and insurance). A thematic analysis was used to analyse each interview.
The key finding from the study was that individual culture influences accountability. Values emerged strongly as the individual culture component that influences accountability significantly. The findings refuted that customs and norms have an influence on accountability in the workplace; however, there is a relationship among values, norms and customs, which drive behavioural characteristics. Emotional intelligence, communication, contextual leadership and cultural intelligence emerged as factors to use to create an accountable environment, and to effectively hold others accountable in the workplace. The findings refuted the literature that accountability is exercised through power between an agent and a principal; instead, the findings determine that accountability is self-imposed, based on an individualÕs ethics, values and moral compass. Company processes and systems must be used to hold people accountable, creating common goals and values, which removes ambiguity in the tasks and expectations. The findings add to the accountability literature by closing a gap in literature on how individual culture as defined influences accountability.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2019.