Business Process Improvement, Budgeting and Forecasting

The Accountability Trap: Why Too Much Focus on Results Can Make You Worse Off - And What to Do About It

Artwork from GFR

Local governments are faced with big challenges and are increasingly asked to address hard problems such as climate change, social inequalities and drug abuse. Addressing these problems may require considerable expenditure of public resources. Given the high stakes of the issues at hand and the potentially large sums of money involved, there can be a justifiable interest from elected officials and the public that the government (and its staff) be held “accountable.” This sounds fine, in theory, but there are some practical problems with a focus on accountability.

This paper provides a better solution, based on world-famous work of organizational psychologist Adam Grant.