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Abstract

This article reviews the notion of accountability as an intrinsic experience in daily organizational life and contrasts it with the more traditional construct of accountability as an external control or monitoring device. The concept of “felt responsibility” can provide an opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. Both research and the author's field experiences in nonprofit settings suggest how nonprofit leaders and managers can use felt responsibility to help individuals act with accountability to themselves and to others. The concept of “conversation for accountability” poses a pragmatic opportunity for nonprofits in particular to turn the current environment of finger pointing and aggressive monitoring into an enabling organizational practice that benefits both nonprofit members and their clients or constituencies.