The Accountability Web
Weaving Corporate Accountability and Interactive Technology
By Bill Baue, Marcy Murninghan | Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government | June 23, 2010
Corporate accountability and Web 2.0 share a common thread: both are rooted in interaction and thrive on engagement. This overlap creates opportunities for corporate accountability and Web 2.0 to join forces to create mutual benefits for firms and their stakeholders. However, this has yet to happen comprehensively—the use of interactive technologies for accountability purposes remains in its early stages, with current business use of Web 2.0 tools focused more on improving performance and increasing efficiencies inside the firm, and on brand management, customer relations, or crisis management outside it.
At a time when our economy is navigating a crisis, and public trust of business activity is in short supply, the intersection of concerns about corporate sustainability, accountability, transparency, and ethics with the proliferation of Web 2.0 communication tools offers an opportunity for new forms of collaborative leadership and participation, and for shaping a new agenda. In many ways we are witnessing the transformation of long-held notions about the boundary of the firm, and, with that, an evolution in the concept of who is "inside" and who is "outside" the organization. In this report, we call this creative and expanding network of intersections the Accountability Web.
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