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Ethical Accountability Examples

By Darren Finkelstein
By Darren Finkelstein

The Accountability Guy®

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Business managers shaking hands, Ethical Accountability Examples

Besides other factors, one of the major factors that shapes an organisation’s operational and ethical framework is accountability. In an era when technology is advancing rapidly and changing how organisations operate, public scrutiny is also increasing, resulting in a stronger focus on business ethics and accountability.

However, it is crucial that this accountability isn’t directionless and is performed within an ethical framework. Not only does it make accountability more effective, but it also encourages employees to be more ethical in their conduct.

This guide will explore the concept of ethical accountability, elaborate on some pertinent ethical accountability examples, and help you understand how it all plays out in a corporate context.

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Table of Contents

What is Ethical Accountability?

The concept of business ethics and accountability can be expressed in two ways:

  1. Businesses and their employees operate within an ethical framework. 
  2. They are held accountable based on ethical principles and methodically, not randomly.

It ensures that businesses don’t just focus on financial success but are also held responsible for their actions. In fact, as research has suggested, adopting this approach can be really productive for businesses.

Ethical Accountability Examples

While it’s easy to talk about ethical accountability as a larger-than-life concept, the truth is that it should be grounded in the real world. Let’s discuss how ethical accountability examples play out in a real workplace.

Being Proactive, Not Reactive

Accountability is a concept that applies proactively, not just when a certain action has been completed. That’s why employees must be proactive at work and start ahead of schedule to stay on track even when minor delays occur. This allows them to boost productivity, enhance communication, and improve time management.

Employees should think beyond their assigned roles and develop accountability in their relationships. By providing valuable input, they are holding themselves accountable and setting a standard that will ensure the team and company experience long-term success.

Always Read to Take Responsibilities

The workplace comes up with new challenges frequently, so the leadership must be willing to take responsibility to create a culture of accountability. By doing that, the leadership sends a clear message that everyone is responsible for their actions. 

It shows that you’re serious about your job, want to invest your energies, and are ready to accept new challenges. Ultimately, the employees follow your example and make themselves accountable to a higher standard, too.

Two-Way Feedback

The concept of productive feedback works both ways: it’s not just about giving it to others. You should also be open to feedback from others, which is an integral part of an accountable workplace. However, that’s only possible when the leadership is accountable and creates a safe space for employees to express their concerns.

Many employees might not be confident enough to speak up when they observe others taking improper shortcuts and not completing their work. Moreover, they might hesitate to express their concerns that some policy decisions are leading to negative consequences for the business. 

It is reported that 61% of employees feel retaliation after reporting misconduct. Allowing them an open, conversational space unlocks their potential for pointing out problems, leading to a more productive and accountable workplace.

Clear Communication

Employees must clearly communicate with their peers to build trust and face challenges together. Helpful conversations among team members create an environment where employees are ready to take ownership of their decisions. Moreover, they promote accountability by ensuring everyone is heard and understood, encouraging cooperation across various levels of the hierarchy.

It is indisputable that mistakes happen, but it’s important to control them before they turn into full-blown disasters. That can happen only if problems are identified promptly to minimize damage. Therefore, an accountable environment can foster understanding and problem-solving, two crucial elements of a thriving workplace.

Offering Assistance

We often think of ethical accountability as being answerable for our actions, but one of the ethical accountability examples is also about supporting the people you work with. It can include various elements, such as:

  • Offering project guidance.
  • Providing constructive criticism.
  • Helping with tasks outside your defined role, such as editing or filing documents.
  • Sharing advice or ideas with peers.

When you help others in the workplace achieve goals and meet deadlines, you create an environment of collaboration, not competition.

Seeking Help

Sure, you can help your coworkers, but what about when you are in trouble? One example of ethical accountability is also having the humility to seek help when you need it. When you ask for assistance, you express a will to grow and learn, making you a more accountable and trustworthy corporate asset.

The question is, what’s the right way to ask for help? You could look for external help from an accountability coach to help you climb upwards. Learning from an accountability coach helps you foster collaboration, be more productive, and improve your team morale.


Ethical accountability is one of the most important elements in a workplace. Achieving it overnight isn’t possible; you have to work on it every day. Ethical accountability examples involve giving and seeking help, communicating clearly, and much more.

Are you ready to improve your workplace and promote ethical accountability? 

Take a look at my accountability coaching packages or take an accountability assessment today. Achieve clarity in your ideas, get started and get stuff done!