Accountability and the Multidimensional Mandate

Andreas Eriksen has published a new article in Political Research Quarterly, which handles accountability and organizational action. 


Public organizations are subject to many kinds of control mechanisms and analysts worry that they often suffer from an “accountability overload.” This article argues that such diagnoses are typically set without an adequate demarcation criterion for identifying accountability practices and separating them from other kinds of interaction, such as strategic pursuit of power or reputational standing. In response, the suggestion is that accountability practices should be restricted to procedures that track the mandate of the organization. This requires clarification of how mandates can be seen as more than a mere heap of conflicting considerations. The concept of a “multidimensional mandate” is introduced as a heuristic for thinking about how different perspectives on organizational action can be integrated. The interpretive test for deciding if a procedure qualifies as an accountability practice is whether it is sufficiently sensitive to the intertwinement of the goals and commitments of the organization. Neither account-givers nor account-holders can legitimately refrain from orienting themselves in this broader normative framework.

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Accountability and the Multidimensional Mandate

Andreas Eriksen

Political Research Quarterly, 2020

doi: 10.1177/1065912920906880

Published Mar. 2, 2020 3:00 PM - Last modified Mar. 2, 2020 3:06 PM