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The Accountability Web: Weaving Corporate Accountability & Interactive Technology

Written as part of a joint research fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School's Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative from 2009 to May 2010, 'The Accountability Web' maps the intersection of corporate accountability with Web 2.0. Part 1 of the paper (appearing in this issue of JCC) traces two progressions: first, in the digital realm from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0; and second, in the corporate realm from Accountability 1.0 to Accountability 2.0. It then examines where the two trajectories overlap, illustrating this dynamic with an in-depth look at the use of Web 2.0 tools for sustainability reporting, and graphically representing the intersections through the Accountability Web Matrix. Part 2 of the paper (planned to appear in a subsequent issue of JCC) presents seven case studies exemplifying the Accountability Web, featuring in-depth looks at Philips, SAP, Intel, Shell, Natura and Timberland. The paper ends with seven recommendations: (1) adapt, don't just adopt; (2) cultivate participation; (3) develop terms of engagement; (4) foster mutual accountability; (5) use blended (in-person + online) engagement; (6) broaden the media palette; and (7) build communities of inquiry and practice.
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