Organizing Transnational Accountability
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Organizing Transnational Accountability

Edited by Magnus Boström and Christina Garsten

This book adds a multi-disciplinary organizational perspective to the theoretical analysis of political accountability and argues for a broadening of the conventional understanding of the concepts of responsibility and accountability.
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Afterword: organizing transnational accountability

John W. Meyer


John W. Meyer Recent decades have seen an extraordinary array of efforts to define criteria to assess organizational performance, and to hold organizations accountable for their performance according to these standards. Magnus Boström and Christina Garsten have pulled together a most valuable collection of studies of these ventures across a wide range of locales and social fields. In this book, we find studies of the rise of standards of nuclear safety, corporate governance, national employment policies, responsible purchasing, accounting, responsible forestry and fishery, social accountability and responsibility, and still other issues. Accountability, as described and analysed here, is a broad social movement more than any specific regime. First, it is worldwide, and cannot be seen as reflecting specific local pressures. The cases discussed here are sometimes explicitly worldwide (as in the United Nations and the International Organization for Standardization). But when they are not, they report events remarkably translatable from country to country. So with modest variations the studies can discuss Sweden, the Netherlands, or Canada, and the accountability standards themselves are supposed to apply in the furthest Third World peripheries. Second, the accountability movement occurs in every organized social sector, and cannot be seen as reflecting problems particular to certain institutions such as government or the chemical industry. Accountability standards are commonly put forward explicitly to apply equally across what used to be major chasms (for instance, the polluters and the public and nonprofit organizations trying to tame them). Third, the...

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