Media Appearances

Landmark Workplace Study Reveals Crisis of Accountability

Global Leader Sponsors Multi-Year Study Involving Over 40,000 Participants

Partners In Leadership announced today the release of its Workplace Accountability Study, the most comprehensive, scientific study on workplace accountability ever conducted. Spanning multiple years and involving over 40,000 participants across a wide variety of industries and organizations, the study reveals a startling absence of clearly defined objectives and abundant confusion about the subject of accountability throughout today’s workplace.

In addition to highlighting that organizations are largely getting accountability wrong, it also suggests that improvements in workplace accountability at the individual, team, and organizational level can yield significant improvements in performance and desired results in each of those areas.

“There’s a crisis of accountability in organizations today, a crisis of epidemic proportions,” said Roger Connors, CEO of Partners In Leadership and the study’s chief researcher. “When properly approached, accountability can really be the low-hanging fruit for optimizing organizational performance and accelerating organizational change efforts.”


This study clearly demonstrates significant confusion around strategic initiatives in a majority of organizations, driving the need for more clearly defined key results that create a basis for accountability by promoting understanding of what needs to be delivered, enabling job role alignment around the desired results, and facilitating their measurement.

Highlights of the study include:

  • Accountability is incorrectly perceived as strictly consequential and almost entirely after-the-fact—80% of those surveyed say feedback is something that happens to them only when things go wrong or not at all.
  • The lack of clarity around key results led 70% of survey participants to indicate that their organization’s key results in jeopardy or altogether doomed.
  • 85% of survey participants indicated they weren’t even sure what their organizations are trying to achieve, a missed opportunity for creating alignment and focus.
  • The failure here is astounding—with 93% of those surveyed unable to align their work or take accountability for desired results. Fully one-third feel their priorities change frequently, creating confusion.
  • The burden is on leaders—84% of those surveyed cite the way leaders behave as the single most important factor influencing accountability in their organizations. And yet just 15% of leaders have successfully clearly defined and broadly communicated their key results.
  • When it comes to holding others accountable, 82% of survey participants say they either try but fail or avoid it altogether.
  • Additional best practices supporting positive accountability are not widely deployed. Just 20% of individuals constantly seek and offer feedback. Just over one-third see due dates (or “by-whens”) as real commitments. Only a quarter solve problems and don’t see that as someone else’s job.

“If you don’t get accountability right, you won’t get much else right either,” continued Connors. “Accountability encompasses how people make commitments to one another, what they make commitments about, how they measure and report progress, and how much ownership they take to get things done. This study reinforces our pioneering work around the impact of positive accountability as a game-changer in achieving an organization’s key results.”

This report presents data that was collected between April 2011 and June 2014, involving 40,000 individuals from hundreds of organizations across a number of industries. The data was collected via live, online polls during webinars that Partners In Leadership hosted during the study period. The content of the webinar polls primarily focused on personal and organizational accountability and their impact on the workplace. Poll topics were based on the key concepts that were introduced and discussed. The information and observations presented in this report are based upon the statistical analysis of the findings from the study.

Additional information on the Workplace Accountability Study can be found by contacting Partners In Leadership.

Accountability Training and Three Tracks To Creating Greater Accountability are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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