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Learning accountability in the public sector: the experience of Kerala

Arun, Thankom and Adhikari, Pawan and Mohan, Ram (2021) 'Learning accountability in the public sector: the experience of Kerala.' Financial Accountability and Management, 37 (2). pp. 184-203. ISSN 0267-4424

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Given that learning has become a core element in addressing the ever-increasing complexities in public sector accountability, we investigate two issues in this paper: (1) how learning was involved in the process of disseminating a competency framework (CF) in four state departments in Kerala, India; and (2) an analysis of the challenges involved in this process, using the theoretical insights from learning accountability. Although the CF would revitalise governance and accountability mechanisms by establishing a conducive environment for administrators to learn in, the nuances of the existing administrative structure limited the scope of this learning exercise. The CF in Kerala generated fear, tension and resistance amongst the administrators, due to a perceived gap between the very objectives of the CF and the administrative settings, in which learning was insignificant. The paper argues that imposing public administrators’ accountability reforms, such as the CF, would be meaningless until an emphasis is placed on learning accountability. Furthermore, there is a need to ‘unlearn’ or ‘discard’ the prevailing traditional learning and accountability practices; unless this is achieved, a conducive environment for learning accountability cannot be institutionalised, nor can reforms such as the CF be materialised.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Competency framework; learning accountability; public sector; India; Kerala
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2020 11:35
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:11

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