Dr. Kevin Stoker, APR of Texas Tech University and Dr. Brad Rawlins of Brigham Young University presented their work developing a continuum of accountability during the Public Relations Research Showcase Presentations round-robin session at the 2010 PRSA International Conference.

They propose 3 types of accountability, from lowest to highest:

  1. Direct Accountability
  2. Social Accountability
  3. Ideal Accountability

In direct accountability the organization and its stakeholders are accountable to one another, though it is more often looked at in terms of how well the organization serves its stakeholders. An example of direct accountability occur when the organization responds directly to a customer complaint. Today we see high levels of this occurring through technology, such as Southwest Airlines Twitter account where the airline responds to complaints tweeted by delayed or otherwise inconvenience customers.

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