Reciprocal Accountability Theory

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In Nov 1979, Michael Borrero, Pricilla Martina and Gretchen Bubelman Borrero published a book named “Toward A Theory of Accountability”. In this book, attention has devoted to the social work literature to the notion of accountability and the reciprocal accountability theory. The focus of this literature has centred around three themes. Such as:-

  1. That the profession has not been accountable;
  2. That the profession needs to be more accountable; and
  3. Some suggestions on how the profession can be more accountable.

Reciprocal Accountability Theory


A current problem with the accountability literature is that the concept of accountability is poorly and too loosely defined. In reciprocal accountability theory, we define accountability as a statement of clear intent by the service provider (agency, worker etc.) and recipient of the intended services (clients system) – and evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the intent of both parties. This definition provides a reciprocal process of evaluation between the client system and the service provider. Thus, to be accountable in this formulation depends upon a clear statement of intent by the service provider and client system and the evaluation of this intent. In brief form, this reciprocal formulation would state. For instance:-

A = f{Ip + Ic + E}

Here,
Ip = Intent of the Service Providers (Ip)
Ic = Intent of the Service Recipients (Ic)
E = Evaluation

Link: A Brief Account of Accountability

The intent of the Service Providers (Ip):


Firstly, is the intent of the service providers (Ip) in reciprocal accountability theory. It comprises of a clear statement of goals, objectives, resource allocation and time. The service provider can be the agency, staff member, funding source; whomever, who attempts to state what they can do clearly; how they can do it; with what resources; and within what period. Such as:-

Goals of Ip:

Goals are statements of ideal ends to achieve if everything went according to plan or if all things were equal. Being a perfect end, purposes are seldom, if ever, achieved.

Objectives of Ip:

Objectives are specific steps taken, which will lead to the goal(s). They are micro activities which, when added together, would approximate the goal. “Objectives derive logically from the goal and specify the actual impact” 4 U to made in the process of reaching the goal(s). Consequently, evaluation of objectives is a valuable activity in monitoring how closely goal(s) are achieving.

Resource Collection of Ip:

Resource collection is the supply of many things, for example, money, personnel, motivation, communication, workers, commitment, etc., needed or used to reach objectives and subsequently, the goal(s). It is the input needed to achieve the desired objective; it includes tangible and intangible inputs.

Time of Ip:

Time is the period believed necessary to accomplish the stated goals and objectives. It is dependent upon the goals and objectives selected, and resource allocations to utilise. That is, the broader the goals, the greater the number of objectives, the higher the number of resource allocations required and the greater the time needed to reach the desired results.

The intent of the Service Recipients (Ic):


Secondly, it the intent of the recipient of service (Ic) in reciprocal accountability theory. Ic client system, consumer of services is also a clear statement of goals, objectives, resource allocation and time. The recipient of service can be the agency or staff member, but it is most usually the consumer of services or the client system. Here the recipients of service must clearly state what they want to do; and what resources they are willing to invest, e.g., money, self-exploration, and within what time. The same definition of the intent of the service provider that applied to the service provider, equally apply to the service recipient. Such as:-

  • Goals of Ic
  • Objectives of Ic
  • Resource of Ic
  • Allocation of Ic and
  • Time of Ic

Link: A Toward Theory of Accountability

Evaluation (E):


Finally, is the evaluation (E) in reciprocal accountability theory. It is the measurement of effort, effectiveness or efficiency of the intent of the service provider and service recipient. For instance:-

The effort of Evaluation:

Effort refers to the assessment of program inputs, e.g., activity, money, staff, time and commitment necessary. The effort is not a measurement of outcome, and it merely measures the input of activity.

Effectiveness of Evaluation:

Effectiveness is a measurement of the degree to which objectives. Additionally, goals have reached in a given time or stage of program planning or program implementation.

The efficiency of Evaluation:

Lastly, efficiency is a measurement of the ratio between effort and effectiveness. It is how to accomplish specific goals and objectives with the minimum use of resources, for example, time, money, workers, energy, etc.

Reciprocal Accountability Theory

Reciprocal Accountability Theory

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