These days, it is not usual to find a story splashed across your newsfeed that demands accountability from government or business leaders: long waits for veterans at healthcare facilities, recalled cars, advances by insurgents in the Middle East, financial misdeeds…the list goes on and on. So who’s to blame?
The real question is who to hold accountable for what: Is it the person at the top? Is it the person who actually committed or omitted the act in question? Is it someone in between who made a faulty risk–reward calculation? Is it the larger system in which the accountability waters get muddied? It isn’t always clear cut. The CEO should have known! The CEO couldn’t have known! The CEO might have known but is the best person to rectify the situation!
In the corporate world, things can often be nuanced. Was Target’s CEO really responsible for the data breach that occurred almost a year ago? He was the most high-profile person to lose his job after that incident.