As we look at the final step in the action-oriented process, the best practice of organizational accountability can be defined as: establish organizational mechanisms that hold stakeholders accountable for taking action on research findings.In this context, the old aphorism about leading a horse to water applies. accountability When we talk to some researchers and ask them about holding the organization accountable for acting on research findings, we often hear the old adage that you ‘can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ What researchers typically mean in this context is that they have provided the insights necessary for the organization to take action, and that it is the organization’s fault if it decides not to act. To extend this metaphor a bit, if the horse doesn’t drink water, the horse will eventually die and so will its rider. This means that if the organization does not act on research findings, then researchers run the risk of becoming redundant. Within this metaphor, researchers are increasingly embracing the importance of holding the organization accountable for taking action. Put another way, researchers are increasingly finding creative ways to coax a stubborn horse into drinking the water it needs to survive, and this creativity benefits both the horse and the rider. What are some creative ways that you as a market researcher have held your organization accountable?Image courtesy of Friðgeir Guðmundsson on Flickr Creative Commons

Ellen Hart is a Senior Associate Consultant at Vivisum Partners. She specializes in in-depth qualitative research in healthcare and nonprofit fields.

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