Accountability is defined as a management philosophy whereby individuals are ultimately accountable for how well or badly they perform. If predetermined activities are performed well, some reward will follow; if not, a penalty or punishment will be justifiably forthcoming. US corporations have witnessed serious consequences of no accountability – abuse of unchecked power; management rewarding itself for bad performances; the “functional autonomy of money” whereby CEOs engage in short‐run activities detrimental to long‐range growth in order to gain a good income at year‐end. In effect, leadership has been “buried” by rewarding structured achievers. Comparisons are drawn with Japan, where egalitarianism contrasts with US elitism; the orientation towards the group as the centre of society versus the US cult of individualism. What can be done to make American CEOs more accountable for their actions? A call for stricter regulation by government agencies or “public directors” appointed by the government on the Board of Directors has not been heeded. There is a need for increased use of employee stock ownership plans, giving employees a stake in the company and providing a voice to help control its destiny. With a growth in employee ownership, CEOs could then be elected instead of being appointed.
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