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date: 18 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Accountability overload results from uncoordinated efforts to assure accountability with disregard of the opportunity cost. In the public sector there are many incentives to add new arrangements to assure accountability, such as political symbolism. In the age of government austerity, however, the cost versus the economic value of avoidable mistakes, cannot be ignored anymore. The quest for accountability at all costs leads to organizational pathologies that reduce efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and innovations. Other reasons for accountability overloads are the temptation to reduce officials’ possible unwillingness to be held accountable and efforts within the organization to address informal accountability expectations. Dynamic accountability, greater transparency, information technology, and a shift from governing to governance may reduce accountability overloads.

Keywords: accountability overload, informal accountability, organizational pathology, dynamic accountability, willingness to be held accountable, political symbolism, government austerity age

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