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Relationship between accountability and public trust from the view point of staffs and clients

Measurement of citizens’ attitude toward the government and administrative system is regarded as the main element relative to the new public management (Shlomo Mizrahi, et al, 2010). The operationalization of democracy is based on public accountability.

Public accountability presents a picture of loyalty, dutifulness, justice, clearness, try for improvement, and moral competence of governmental managers, and its promotion makes the managers secure against the criticisms. It also displays some democratic manifestations. Governmental managers should be accountable in the fields of strategy, program (effectiveness), performance (competence and economy), planning process, allocation and legitimacy (rules obedience).

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Increase of the level of need to accountability and information in the society improve the expectations for available services and hence Public department could be developed (Del pino, 2007). Public trust refers to when individuals expect the government officials to provide their needs by interacting with them during which there is a kind of distrust.

In other words, public trust means the expectations of all people toward the positive response from behalf of their governmental officials. In added, by public trust we mean the degree of individuals’ belief toward the public organizations which act based on their expectations. They are also truthful, have various capabilities and do suitable works (Sosuke Iwae, 2009).

From the viewpoint of managers, staffs and employers, public trust is very important because it plays a main role in the enforcement of public policies and cooperations. Citizens effect on the enforcement of government’s programs by public trust and public trust is achieved in lieu of suitable response of governmental institutions (Gordon, 2000).

Review of literature

A) Accountability

The word “accountability” has been differently used in public management: Firstly, it refers to the political accountability idea in the democratic liberal system and secondly, it refers to the managerial accountability in governmental systems (Romzek and Ingraham, 2000).
With regard to the development of new public management by which the balance between political accountability and managerial accountability has been changed, the governance has became more complex (Anders Hanberger, 2009).

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Farazmand believes that “the managers of public services are the guards of people’s trust. Therefore, accountability toward the people’s needs is a main issue in public organizations, because there are many aspects of activities by which many corruptions are created” (Farazmand, 2000).

The basic criterion of “public” is related to the public trust to the leader and the being responsiveness of public services toward the people.
The lack of accountability defaces the public trust toward the public services. In this regard, the public managers cannot easily attract the trust of the people. Some authors believe that the lack of accountability is the main factor related to the distrust. In their opinion, the following problems could be the reasons of distrust (Danaee et al, 2007):
existence of inefficient organizations, existence of disqualified financial organizations, personal profitability in tax departments, rights and wages.

Accountability follows these goals: 1. It is a tool used in order to control the power and prevent misuse from public authority. 2. It guarantees the correct usage of national resources follows the law and preserves the values of public services. 3. It is a suitable tool in order to improve the governance and manage the public services (Hildebrand et al, 2011).

Based on their view points (economic, sociological, psychological, etc), authors divide accountability into several parts. Sin Klier presents four types of accountability: political, professional, moral and legal accountability. He believes that public accountability is informal and political accountability refers to the direct accountability in front of groups, societies and people (Sinclair, 2003).

Professional accountability is referred to the duty of a person or an organization as a part of a professional group. Finally, personal accountability means the loyalty to the personal conscience. It refers to the final accountability formed by practicing the moral values (moral accountability) (Sinclair, 2003).

Marshal divides accountability into three categories: democratic, legal and financial accountability.

Several accountability are described as followings: organizational accountability: It is referred to the internal controls and is based on the relationship between the employer and the employee through which the managers control performance of the employees.

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Legal accountability: It includes the external inspection over the performance and tries to conform the performance to the constitutional law. Legal accountability is based on rational choice theory.

There are two other kinds of accountability: professional accountability and political accountability. The first one is internal and the second is external- The difference between them is related to the performance standard . In other words, we should mention who determines the basic performance on which the judgment is based. The standard resource of professional accountability is the personal judgment of the employee and the standard resource of political accountability is another (Marshall, 2004).

By political accountability, the managers respond to the wills of political authorities, interested parties and other political positions. In other words, political accountability is referred to the control of main shareholders of the organizations over the managers’ performance Campbell, 1993).

Each kind emphasized on special behavioral values and expectations. The following table presents the kinds of accountability systems based on the behavioral values and expectations:

Table1. Kinds of accountability systems based on the values and behavioral expectation (Romgek, 2000)
Kind of accountability Value behavioral expectation
Organizational Productivity and efficiency obeying the organizational orders
Legal Law enforcement Obeying the orders out of the organization
Professional Specialty knowledge Respecting the justice and specialty knowledge of persons
Political accountability making a response to the organization’s managers

B) Public Trust
Several aspects of public trust have been examined. These aspects include: between personal trust, trust toward the professionals, inter-organizational trust, between organizational trust, trust to the politicians and trust in the society (Ari and IkolaNorrbacka, 2009). Trust has become a main issue for the leaders, researchers and governmental officials because it has been regarded as a key element of governmental systems. Although trust is a main issue in our society, it is decreasing in all over the world (PAN SUK , 2010).

Having trust in the public organizations is a multi-dimension and complex category (Ari and IkolaNorrbacka, 2009).

At all, trust refers to some beliefs which persons want to present them to others by an unpredicted way (March and Olsen,1989).

It could be said that trust is a kind of expectation toward the positive results which are achieved based on the expected activity (Danaee Fard and Anvary Rostamy,2007).

Public trust is referred to the public expectation from the achievement of positive response relative to their needs from public officials (Christopher et al, 2008).

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Denhart believes that issues such as in correct justice, incapability, losses, heavy taxes and defeats could not damage the government, but it could be damaged when the people believe that the governmental managers and rulers think about their benefits (Denhart, 2002).

Distrust is formed when the suspicion is appeared and it could be generalized because of inattention toward some expectations (Zuker, 1998).

Table 2. Attitudes, causes of distrust, citizen’s’ reaction and the way of improvement of trust to government
causes of distrust citizen’s ‘reaction solutions

1 Commercial
management performance Refraining from public services/
complaining against the way of receiving public services/
loyalty to the public services improvement of services quality

2 public management work volume refraining from public services/
complaining against the way of receiving public services/
loyalty to the public services expectations management

3 sociology Distrust culture refraining from public services/
complaining against the way of receiving public services/
loyalty to the public services Social capital, social trust, identification

4 economy Rational choice philosophy cooperation and contrast cooperation and collaboration

5 Islamic
point management
cover Collaborating with the government officials
and managers the relationship between employer and people

Reviewing the literature, it could be said that “public accountability” is a suitable variable which covers the fivefold solutions (moral, legal, financial, functional and democratic) (Sims, 2001).

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Relationship between accountability and public trust from the view point of staffs and clients. (2021, Feb 04). Retrieved January 29, 2023, from

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