Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How does collective responsibility work in practice?

It doesn't. Really there's no such thing.

Today, it is fashionable to talk about "corporate responsibility." The business world is waking up at last to understand that pleasing stockholders only and at the cost of other stakeholders is an unsustainable position.

But corporate responsibility, like any so-called "collective responsibility" is only meaningful if it is first an accepted personal responsibility. Action is individual. If people do the same thing and do it simultaneously, yes you can call it collective action but there is nothing without the contribution from each individual.

The danger of "collective responsibility" is that you or anyone in the collective can abdicate responsibility by assuming " someone else will take care of it."

Ultimately all responsibility and all accountability is individual.


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