Relationships Between Felt Accountability as a Stressor and Strain
Reactions: The Neutralizing Role of Autonomy Across Two Studies
Angela T. Hall, M. Todd Royle, Robert A. Brymer, Pamela L. Perrewe´,
Gerald R. Ferris, and Wayne A. Hochwarter
Florida State University
Felt accountability, conceptualized as a workplace stressor, has been gaining increased attention
in terms of its importance for explaining variance in work attitudes and behaviors. Building on
these investigations, the present research tests in 2 studies a conceptualization that positions job
autonomy as a moderator of the relationships between felt accountability and strain reactions. In
Study 1, the interactions of Felt Accountability ⫻Job Autonomy on job tension and job
satisfaction were investigated. As hypothesized, the results demonstrated that autonomy neutral-
ized the dysfunctional effects of accountability for each outcome. Study 2 extended the ﬁndings
from Study 1 by replicating the form of the interactive effects, with job satisfaction and emotional
exhaustion serving as strain reactions. Implications, strengths and limitations, and suggestions for
future research are discussed.
Lawful and civil societal participation is predi-
cated on the understanding that individuals are an-
swerable for their decisions and behaviors. Without
accountability, which is brieﬂy deﬁned as the need to
justify one’s actions (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999; Tet-
lock, 1985), all entities would cease to exist, causing
chaos and social unrest. This is especially true with
regard to business settings, where accountability rep-
resents an inherently assumed, yet historically under-
examined, linkage between the individual and the
enterprise (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999). Recent contri-
butions to the organizational accountability literature
(i.e., Frink & Klimoski, 1998, 2004; Hall, Frink, et
al., 2003; Lindkvist & Llewellyn, 2003) suggest that
researchers are gaining interest in this important phe-
nomenon. It is our intention to build on the momen-
tum created by these studies.
Conventional wisdom suggests that outcomes as-
sociated with accountability are generally positive
(e.g., more accountability 3more favorable out-
comes). For example, because accountability is pred-
icated on the notion that individuals will provide
evidence of contribution, those individuals may exert
the means necessary to ensure that favorable out-
comes result. Also, when examined in unison with
theoretically appropriate contextual and individual
difference factors, accountability may require indi-
viduals to acquire control. In this regard, accountabil-
ity may serve a stress-buffering role. Finally, the
need to demonstrate competence may have a direct
effect on commitment, in that being held accountable
often requires individuals to “buy in” to the objec-
tives and values of the organization.
However, other research suggests that accountabil-
ity is not a panacea for all organizational ills (Lerner
& Tetlock, 1999). For example, studies have found
accountability to be associated with a host of nega-
tive consequences (Quinn & Schlenker, 2002), in-
cluding inaccurate performance appraisals (Klimoski
& Inks, 1990). Further, it has been argued that ac-
countability represents a stressor (Siegel-Jacobs &
Yates, 1996) because of its potentially anxiety-pro-
voking effects. Finally, juggling multiple account-
abilities (Carnevale, 1985; Green, Visser, & Tetlock,
2000) can promote attendant strain-related outcomes
(Frink & Klimoski, 1998, 2004) because of its effect
on role stress. It is our position that accountability
represents a consequential job demand that individ-
uals experience at work.
The present series of studies advances the stream
of felt accountability research by exploring, in two
studies, the interactive effects of felt accountability
and job autonomy on strain reactions. Building on
previous discussions (Semin & Manstead, 1983; Tet-
lock, 1985), we argue that discretionary decision
making is an important moderator in accountability–
outcome relationships that have the potential to pro-
Angela T. Hall, M. Todd Royle, Pamela L. Perrewe´,
Gerald R. Ferris, and Wayne A. Hochwarter, Department of
Management, Florida State University; Robert A. Brymer,
Dedman School of Hospitality, Florida State University.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to Angela T. Hall, Department of Management,
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1110. E-
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
2006, Vol. 11, No. 1, 87–99
Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association
1076-8998/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1076-8918.104.22.168
duce strain (Karasek, 1979; Simmering, Colquitt,
Noe, Porter, 2003; Spector, 1986).
Theory and Research on Accountability
Over the past 20 years, accountability research has
grown rapidly, largely in social psychology domains
(Lerner & Tetlock, 1999; Tetlock, 1985, 1992).
These studies often have been laboratory experi-
ments, with undergraduate students as participants, in
which accountability is an objective, experimental
manipulation (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999; Tetlock,
1992). This stream of research is based largely on the
work of a few scholars, most notably Tetlock (1985,
1992) and Schlenker (e.g., Quinn & Schlenker, 2002;
Schlenker, Britt, Pennington, Murphy, & Doherty,
1994). For example, Tetlock (1985, 1992) proposed
the social contingency model of accountability,
which argued that feelings of accountability involve
an “implicit or explicit expectation that one may be
called on to justify one’s beliefs, feelings, and actions
to others” (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999, p. 255). Because
of the need to defend one’s opinions or actions to
others, research has referred to accountability as one
of the many social pressures individuals experience
across life domains (Green et al., 2000).
Frink and Klimoski (1998) argued that felt ac-
countability is related to, but distinct from, two con-
cepts found in the social psychology literature: mere
presence (Zajonc, 1965) and evaluation apprehension
(Cottrell, 1972). For example, Zajonc argued that the
mere presence of others affects individual behaviors.
However, the mere-presence perspective, which is
based on drive theory (Hull, 1943), conceptualizes
inﬂuence as mechanistic and largely ignores under-
lying cognitive processes. Conversely, accountability
theory is based largely on a model of cognitive par-
ticipation (Frink & Klimoski, 1998).
Second, Frink and Klimoski (1998) argued that felt
accountability is not the same as apprehension about
evaluation. It has been argued that expectations of
potential evaluation serve as the impetus for individ-
ual reactions to accountability (Frink & Klimoski,
1998). However, this form of apprehension does not
delve into individual reactions to an expected evalu-
ation, whereas this is a key aspect of felt
Finally, it has been argued that accountability is
not responsibility, and theorists have exerted consid-
erable energy to conceptually distinguish these con-
structs (Frink & Klimoski, 1998). Responsibility,
which has been deﬁned as “the personal causal inﬂu-
ence on an event” (Cummings & Anton, 1990, p.
262), is a component of felt accountability. That is,
responsibility can be present; however, whether it is
accepted (i.e., internalizes) is a separate issue.
We share the view that accountability differs sig-
niﬁcantly from responsibility. Responsibility in-
volves notions of causal inﬂuence and duty (Schlen-
ker et al., 1994). However, accepting responsibility
does not mean that an evaluative audience will be
present. Conversely, appraisal by an external audi-
ence is a critical component of accountability. The
fact that individuals subjectively interpret external
conditions to hold them responsible (i.e., the individ-
ual was the causal inﬂuence of the event) does not
mean that the same individual feels accountable.
Whether an individual recognizes responsibility is
different from whether an individual accepts respon-
sibility (Cummings & Anton, 1990).
Borrowing from the phenomenological perspective
(Tetlock, 1985, 1992, Frink and Klimoski (1998,
2004) argued that conceptualizations of felt account-
ability should include individualized, subjective per-
ceptions. Further, we share the view of Frink and
Klimoski (1998) and others (Tetlock, 1992) who
advocate the inclusion of meaningful consequences
of accountability success or failure. As such, our
discussion of organizationally generated accountabil-
ity outcomes includes both favorable (i.e., rewards)
and unfavorable (i.e., sanctions) consequences. Ac-
cordingly, we adopt a modiﬁed deﬁnition proposed
by Hall, Frink, et al. (2003). This deﬁnition borrows
liberally from prior conceptualizations of the felt
accountability construct offered in prior research
(Ferris, Mitchell, Canavan, Frink, & Hopper, 1995;
Frink & Klimoski, 1998, 2004; Tetlock, 1985, 1992):
Felt accountability refers to an implicit or explicit
expectation that one’s decisions or actions will be
subject to evaluation by some salient audience(s) (in-
cluding oneself), with the belief in the potential for
either rewards or sanctions based on these evaluations.
Conservation-of-resources theory (COR, Hobfoll,
1989; Hobfoll & Freedy, 1993; T. Wright & Hobfoll,
2004) proposes that stress comes from the interaction
of the person and environment and that the situation
is subjectively interpreted to tax or exceed a person’s
self-regulatory resources (see Baumeister, Bratslavsky,
Muraven, & Tice, 1998). Speciﬁcally, Hobfoll (1989)
theorized that reactions to stressors are caused by the
88 HALL ET AL.
imbalance of perceived resource demands, instead of
a clear and objective deﬁciency of resources vis-a`-vis
demands. Similarly, stress occurs when individuals
believe that a disproportionately large ratio between
their efforts and the depletion of their resources ex-
ists. Accordingly, psychological stress is a reaction to
the environment when there is a threat of net loss of
resources, there is actual loss of resources, or there is
a loss of resources following an investment of re-
sources (Hobfoll, 1989).
COR theory argues that resources are the single
unit necessary to understand stress. These resources
are objects, personal characteristics, social condi-
tions, and various energies that individuals possess to
cope with stress and use to acquire other objects,
energies, and conditions (Hobfoll, 1989). Hobfoll
(1989) argued that during situations deemed stress-
ful, individuals must offset the loss of resources in
one area by securing resources from anotherarea.
That stated, as the persistence of a stressor increases,
the number of resources on which one can call is
depleted, leading to fatigue, a lack of resilience, and
an increased vulnerability to the encroachment of
other stressors (Monnier, Cameron, Hobfoll, &
A shortcoming of previous accountability research
has been the inability to consider the role of resource
accumulation and utilization. Because high levels of
accountability require individuals to exert more en-
ergy and deploy more interpersonal resources than
low levels do, the ability to maintain a reserve of
these assets likely facilitates favorable individual and
organizational outcomes. For example, a supervisor’s
accountability for the activities of more subordinates
than noted on the job description is plausibly better
equipped to manage these increased demands if re-
sources are easily accumulated and managed appro-
priately (Hobfoll, 1989).
Undoubtedly, many of the actions in which hu-
mans engage are unconscious or habitual (i.e., breath-
ing and blinking). However, those actions that in-
volve conscious, deliberate, and controlled responses
are equivalently important to one’s health, success,
and happiness (Baumeister et al., 1998). Much of
what researchers (e.g., Carver, 2004; Carver &
Scheier, 1981) consider within the domain of self-
regulation has its origin in self-awareness research.
Vohs and Baumeister (2004) proposed that self-reg-
ulation is a conscious effort on the part of individuals
to align behaviors with established or preferred stan-
dards. Fundamentally, this involves directing behav-
iors toward a priori goal states deemed necessary or
appealing (Baumeister et al., 1998).
Understanding self-regulation is important to gain
a full appreciation of felt accountability. Because
individuals are often accountable to multiple constit-
uencies with largely divergent needs (Carnevale,
1985; Green et al., 2000), there is likely a disparity in
pressures, which require the thoughtful deployment
of ﬁnite resources. To secure favorable responses
(albeit to varying degrees; Lerner & Tetlock, 1999)
across constituents, individuals must try to regulate
behaviors to curb ego depletion (Baumeister et al.,
1998; Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1993), which
is described as a depletion of self-generated resources
(i.e., energy, effort, attention).
Reactions to accountability often include high-
cognitive-effort attempts, such as integrative com-
plexity of thought (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999), to se-
cure positive evaluations (Green et al., 2000). Thus,
being held accountable taps more resources than not
being held to comparable standards. It is noteworthy
that resources typically are expended more rapidly
than they are replenished (Baumeister et al., 1998).
Further, the environment of accountability does not
always allow individuals the needed respite from
examination to restore resources. As a consequence,
resource-accumulating activities (e.g., securing deci-
sion-making latitude) that are self-generated can en-
sure that ego depletion remains within levels that do
not provoke anxiety.
Integration of Resource-Based Theories
Collectively, COR and self-regulation theories as-
sume similar arguments relating to stress, coping, and
adaptation mechanisms. For example, both theories
have the management of self-generated capabilities at
their core (e.g., personal resources in COR and deci-
sion-making resources for self-regulation; Baumeis-
ter et al., 1993; Hobfoll, 2002; Holahan, Moos, Ho-
lahan, & Cronkite, 1999). Further, both COR and
self-regulation represent proactive strategies that
minimize the harmful effects of stressors. For exam-
ple, Ito and Brotheridge (2003) detected a signiﬁcant
relationship between resource levels and active cop-
ing (i.e., seeking advice and assistance, positive ori-
entation, working harder). Further, self-regulation
models of proactive coping often have resource as-
sessment and accumulation as critical attributes.
89ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN
Felt Accountability as a Stressor
Schlenker, Weigold, and Doherty (1991) argued
that accountability is potentially detrimental in situ-
ations where individuals believe demands extend be-
yond their capabilities. As such, accountability might
be perceived as a threat and thus as potentially stress
inducing. Indeed, Schlenker et al. (1991, p. 96) ar-
gued, “problems with accountability are at the core of
most dysfunctional behaviors.” Moreover, they con-
tended that many clinical disorders are attributed to
an individual’s failure to assess and cope with self-
identity within the milieu of both internal and exter-
Accountability scholars have only begun to posi-
tion felt accountability as a stressor (Siegel-Jacobs &
Yates, 1996). For example, Royle, Hall, Hochwarter,
Perrewe´, and Ferris (2005) found that increased job
self-efﬁcacy reduced the established anxiety-provok-
ing effects of felt accountability on work outcomes.
Further, Hall, Frink, et al. (2003) reported that felt
accountability was directly associated with tension
and the exertion of emotional labor.
In the workplace, as in other life domains, individ-
uals rarely are accountable to just one person or
entity. Rather, individuals exist in a “web of account-
abilities” in which they are scrutinized by more than
one audience (Carnevale, 1985). Moreover, account-
abilities often clash with one another and often re-
quire prioritization. As an example, a nurse might
serve simultaneously on committees for budget and
ethical treatment of patients —which casts each role
in conﬂict with the other. In support of this view, role
theory (Katz & Kahn, 1978) acknowledges that felt
accountability represents a stressor by resulting in
role overload and/or conﬂict.
Moreover, there can be a lack of alignment with
respect to an individual’s accountability webs. Gel-
fand, Lim, and Raver (2004) discussed two types of
alignment that can occur. The ﬁrst, structural align-
ment, refers to the extent to which individuals accu-
rately perceive the formal rules, policies, and proce-
dures within the workplace. The second, web
alignment, represents the extent to which individuals
and groups have comparable accountability networks.
More speciﬁcally, web alignment occurs when em-
ployees with equivalent job duties experience com-
parable accountability requirements (i.e., to whom,
how much, when). Gelfand et al. (2004, p. 141)
proposed that “conﬂict and confusion will arise when
accountability webs are misaligned.” Frink and Kli-
moski (2004) argued that this lack of alignment has
the potential to not only create conﬂict but also
increase anxiety because employees are unable to
rely on the behaviors of others to secure social infor-
mation in ambiguous situations.
Autonomy as Resource-Based Neutralizer of
deCharms’s (1968) theory of personal causation
asserts that individuals strive to achieve a sense of
mastery and competence in relation to their immedi-
ate environment. When an individual
perceives his behavior as stemming from his own
choice he will cherish that behavior and its results;
when he perceives his behavior as stemming from the
dictates of external forces, that behavior and its results,
although identical in other respects to behavior of his own
choosing, will be devalued. (deCharms, 1968, p. 273)
Further, Brehm (1966) emphasized the negative
psychological reactance individuals experience due
to a loss of discretion. Reviews of the literature
indicate that increased levels of autonomy can be
used to attain more discretion to cope with future
accountability demands (Noe, Wilk, Mullen, &
Job Autonomy as Personal Choice Behavior
Autonomy represents “the degree to which the job
provides substantial freedom, independence, and dis-
cretion to the individual in scheduling the work and
in determining the procedures to be used in carrying
it out” (Hackman & Oldham, 1980, p. 79). The scope
of autonomy research is vast, including studies as-
sessing its effects on decision making (Leana, Ahl-
brandt, & Murrell, 1992), job redesign and work
scheduling (Hackman & Oldham, 1976; Pierce &
Dunham, 1992), and goal setting (Latham & Yukl,
1976; P. M. Wright, 1992). Further, autonomy has
been associated with individual difference variables
such as persistence (Koestner & Zuckerman, 1994),
the pursuit of challenges (Amabile, Hill, Hennessey,
& Tighe, 1994), and an appreciation for interesting
work (Farmer & Sundberg, 1986). In short, compel-
ling evidence that perceptions of autonomy are asso-
ciated with a myriad of positive outcomes exists in
Because job characteristics are deﬁned largely by
organizations themselves, possessing job autonomy
is analogous to what Hobfoll (1989) called a “con-
dition resource.” To the extent that individuals value
autonomy, it serves as a means of attainment of other
goals (Freund & Riediger, 2001), including more
90 HALL ET AL.
decision-making discretion (Deci & Ryan, 1985). If
this condition resource outpaces its depletion by
competing stressors, individuals likely avoid what a
lack of autonomy triggers, such as strain and ill
health (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Ryan, Sheldon, Kasser,
& Deci, 1996).
Hypotheses and Plan of the Research
We contend that the stress associated with in-
creased demands of felt accountability requires one
to pull from a reserve of personal characteristics.
Hobfoll (2002) contends that these resources are, for
example, feelings of self-efﬁcacy, self-esteem, a
sense of optimism, and a sense of mastery. These
personal characteristics also may be cumulatively
related to successes stemming from job autonomy, or
they may be related to decision latitude, as a condi-
tion resource that better allows one to cope with
events deemed stressful (Hobfoll, 2002).
Further, those possessing autonomy are likely
more resilient to stress-provoking conditions due to
the ability to sustain goal-directed effort (Carver &
Scheier, 1998). Similarly, autonomy can lead to
higher levels of social support (Tummers, Lande-
weerd, & van Merode, 2002). As a consequence,
those reporting high levels of autonomy both per-
ceive and realize that social resources are available
when exposed to stressful conditions.
In terms of self-regulation theory, autonomy is
hypothesized to ameliorate the harmful effects of
accountability on strain because choices are made on
the basis of internal needs and preferences (Deci &
Ryan, 1985) instead of anxiety-provoking mandates
by the organization. A considerable body of research
(i.e., Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) has
demonstrated the inﬂuence of choice on motivation
factors that lead not only to appropriate growth and
development, but to well-being as well (Ryan &
Deci, 2000). A manifestation of exercising choice is
an increase in cognitive efﬁciency, which likely has a
positive effect on resource preservation.
Hypothesis 1: Autonomy moderates the relation-
ship between felt accountability and job tension.
Speciﬁcally, individuals with lower levels of au-
tonomy will report higher levels of job tension in
high-accountability conditions. Further, high lev-
els of autonomy will neutralize the effects of felt
accountability on job tension.
Hypothesis 2: Autonomy moderates the rela-
tionship between felt accountability and job sat-
isfaction. Speciﬁcally, individuals with lower
levels of autonomy will report lower levels of
job satisfaction in high-accountability condi-
tions. Further, high levels of autonomy will neu-
tralize the effects of felt accountability on job
Hypothesis 3: Autonomy moderates the rela-
tionship between felt accountability and emo-
tional exhaustion. Speciﬁcally, individuals with
lower levels of autonomy will report higher levels
of emotional exhaustion in high-accountability
conditions. Further, high levels of autonomy will
neutralize the effects of felt accountability on emo-
Overview of the Research Plan
The present research involves two studies designed
to examine the effects of job autonomy as a moder-
ator of the relationships between felt accountability
and strain reaction. Convergent evidence regarding
the operation of autonomy across two studies with
different outcome variables will serve to construc-
tively replicate (Lykken, 1968), and thus provide
more conﬁdence in the results. In Study 1, job tension
and job satisfaction serve as strain outcomes. In
Study 2, we examine the effect of the interactive
autonomy–accountability relationship on emotional
exhaustion and job satisfaction.
Participants and Procedures
Surveys were distributed to 249 administrative employ-
ees of a university in the southeastern United States. Par-
ticipation was voluntary, and the surveys were returned
directly to the researchers. A total of 183 usable surveys
were returned, for a response rate of approximately 73%.
Occupations included accountant, human resources admin-
istrator, and software coordinator. The average age of re-
spondents was roughly 42 years, and organizational tenure
was 11 years. The sample included 97 men (53%), and the
average number of direct reports was 19. Archival data
indicated that sample and population demographics did not
differ in terms of age (population age ⫽42.3 years) and
gender (population gender ⫽54.1% male).
91ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN
Felt accountability. An eight-item, unidimensional
scale developed by Hochwarter, Kacmar, and Ferris (2003)
was used to measure felt accountability (
⫽. 91). The
scale used a 7-point response format, with strongly disagree
(1) and strongly agree (7) as endpoints. Representative
items included, “I am held very accountable for my actions
at work” and “To a great extent, the success of my imme-
diate work group rests on my shoulders.” Prior research has
demonstrated scale adequacy (Hall, Hochwarter, & Ferris,
2003; Hochwarter et al., 2003). Factor analysis results in-
dicated that one factor emerged that explained a signiﬁcant
proportion of variance (eigenvalue ⫽3.39, proportion of
explained variance ⫽.46). A comprehensive list of items
and their subsequent factor loadings are reported in the Ap-
Autonomy. Job autonomy (
⫽.93) was measured with a
four-item scale developed by Beehr (1976). “I have a lot of say
over what happens on my job” and “I have enough authority to
do my best” represent scale items. A 7-point Likert format was
used (1 ⫽strongly disagree to7⫽strongly agree). Factor
analysis results indicated unidimensionality (eigenvalue ⫽
4.04, proportion of explained variance ⫽.71).
Job tension. Job tension (
⫽.89) was measured with
House and Rizzo’s (1972) six-item scale. Sample items
included, “I work under a great deal of tension” and “My
job tends to directly affect my health.” The measure was
scored using a 7-point response format (1 ⫽strongly dis-
agree to7⫽strongly agree). Factor analysis results sup-
ported a unidimensional factor structure (eigenvalue ⫽
3.97, proportion of explained variance ⫽.73).
Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction (
⫽.90) was mea-
sured with a ﬁve-item subscale of Brayﬁeld and Rothe’s
(1951) index (Judge, Locke, Durham, & Kluger, 1998).
“Each day of work seems like it will never end” (reversed
coded) and “Most days I am enthusiastic about my work”
are two items that were measured with a 7-point format
(1 ⫽strongly disagree to 7 ⫽strongly agree). Factor
analysis results indicated unidimensionality (eigenvalue ⫽
2.91, proportion of explained variance ⫽.59).
Control variables. Age, gender, and organization ten-
ure were used as control variables given their previous
inﬂuence on stressor–strain relationships (Sheridan & Vre-
Moderated multiple regression (Cohen & Cohen, 1983)
analyses were conducted to examine the hypothesized mod-
erating relationship. In the ﬁrst step, demographic factors
(i.e., age, gender, and organization tenure) were entered,
followed by the main effect variables (i.e., felt accountabil-
ity and autonomy) in the second step. The Accountability ⫻
Job Autonomy interaction term was entered in the ﬁnal step.
Moderated multiple regression was used to test for the
signiﬁcance of the increment in criterion variance explained
by the interaction term beyond the variance accounted for
by the main effects and control variables.
Table 1 reports means, standard deviations, and
intercorrelations among study variables. Table 2 pre-
sents moderated regression results. All variables were
standardized. Gender, tenure accountability, and au-
tonomy predicted job tension. Furthermore, auton-
omy predicted job satisfaction. Each Felt Account-
ability ⫻Job Autonomy interaction term was
signiﬁcant, explaining incremental variance in both
job tension (
⫽⫺.13, p⬍.05, ⌬R
⫽.03) and job
⫽.09, p⬍.05, ⌬R
amount of explained variance for each interaction
term was comparable with that expected (i.e., 1–3%)
for moderator effects in ﬁeld studies (Champoux &
Peters, 1987; Chaplin, 1991).
A procedure outlined by Cohen and Cohen (1983)
and Stone and Hollenbeck (1989) was used to depict the
two signiﬁcant interaction terms. Three levels of indi-
vidual job autonomy were plotted: at one standard de-
Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations Among Study Variables
1. Age 41.51 9.95 41.77 11.73 .05 .48 .07 ⫺.01 .16 .27
.03 ⫺.04 ⫺.02 ⫺.08 .01 ⫺.06
3. Organization tenure 7.97 7.34 11.40 9.15 .40 .15 .06 ⫺.04 .09 .20
4. Felt accountability 2.75 .48 5.35 1.44 .09 .21 .12 ⫺.21 .34 .04
5. Autonomy 4.61 1.49 5.37 1.07 .08 .12 .11 ⫺.28 ⫺.06 .23
6. Job tension/exhaustion 3.60 1.51 4.10 1.47 .16 ⫺.22 .22 .26 ⫺.29 ⫺.06
7. Job satisfaction 5.02 1.49 3.70 .83 ⫺.01 ⫺.02 .02 ⫺.15 .40 ⫺.45
Intercorrelation values are above the diagonal. r⬎.17, p⬍.05.
Intercorrelation values are below the diagonal. r⬎
Study 1: 1 ⫽male, 2 ⫽female. Study 2: 0 ⫽male, 1 ⫽female.
92 HALL ET AL.
viation below the mean, at the mean, and at one
standard deviation above the mean. Figures 1 and 2
illustrate the signiﬁcant interactive effects. For job
tension, the slope for low-autonomy individuals was
signiﬁcant from zero, t(1, 30) ⫽2.74, p⬍.01,
whereas the slope for high-autonomy individuals was
not, t(1, 30) ⫽⫺.02, ns. For job satisfaction, the
slope for those with high levels of autonomy was
positive and signiﬁcantly different from zero, t(1,
30) ⫽2.19, p⬍.01, but the slope for those with low
levels of autonomy was not t(1, 30) ⫽⫺.10, ns.
Participants and Procedures
The sample consisted of administrators of a large health
care facility in the southeastern United States. A total of 309
surveys were distributed to employees at their work site.
Participation was voluntary, and respondents were guaran-
teed anonymity. A total of 118 surveys were returned di-
rectly to the researchers, for a 38% response rate. Accounts
receivable manager, payroll coordinator, and security man-
ager were representative occupations. The sample consisted
of 86 women (72.9%) and averaged 41 years of age (SD ⫽
9.95 years). Tenure at the organization was approximately 8
years (M⫽7.97, SD ⫽7.34). Archival data indicated that
sample and population demographics did not differ in terms
of age (population age ⫽41.7 years) and gender (population
gender ⫽72.1% female).
With the exception of the inclusion of a measure of
emotional exhaustion, scales used in Study 2 are equivalent
to those used in Study 1.
Felt accountability. Felt accountability (
measured by the eight-item scale (Hall, Hochwarter, &
Ferris, 2003; Hochwarter et al., 2003). Factor analysis for
Study 2 indicated unidimensionality (eignenvalue ⫽3.49,
proportion of explained variance ⫽.44).
Moderated Regression Analyses
Step and variable
Study 1 Study 2
Step 1: Demographics
Age .02* .02* .01 ⫺.01
Gender .01 ⫺.13 ⫺.72** ⫺.09
Organization tenure ⫺.01 .03 .01 .08 .05** .12 .01 .01
Step 2: Predictors
Felt accountability (A) .46** .05 .59* .02
Autonomy (B) .01 .11** .14** .06* ⫺.22** .10** .52** .24**
Step 3: Interaction
A⫻B⫺.13* .03* .09* .03* ⫺.47** .05** .46** .07**
*p⬍.05. ** p⬍.01.
Figure 1. Interactive effects of felt accountability and job autonomy on job tension (Study 1).
93ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN
Autonomy. Job autonomy (
⫽.87) was measured us-
ing a four-item scale (Beehr, 1976). Factor analysis results
indicated unidimensionality (eigenvalue ⫽2.94, proportion
of explained variance ⫽.74).
Job satisfaction. Job satisfaction (
⫽.90) was mea-
sured using a ﬁve-item scale (Brayﬁeld & Rothe, 1951).
Factor analysis results indicated unidimensionality (eigen-
value ⫽4.83, proportion of explained variance ⫽.81).
Emotional exhaustion. Six items were adapted from
Pines, Aronson, and Kafry’s (1981) measure of burnout
⫽.95). Items included “I feel emotionally drained from
my work,” “I feel used up at the end of each workday,” and
“Working with people all day is really a strain for me.” A
4-point response format was used with never (1) and always
(4) as endpoints. Factor analysis results indicated unidimen-
sionality (eigenvalue ⫽3.70, proportion of explained vari-
Control variables. Age, gender, and organization ten-
ure were included in the regression analyses as control
Moderated regression analyses were conducted to deter-
mine the inﬂuence of the felt accountability–autonomy in-
teraction on job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion.
Means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations
are presented in Table 1, and results of the hierarchi-
cal moderated regression analyses are shown in Table
2. Gender and tenure predicted emotional exhaustion.
Demographic factors failed to predict job satisfac-
tion. Felt accountability predicted emotional exhaus-
tion, whereas autonomy predicted both emotional
exhaustion and job satisfaction. Finally, each Felt
Accountability ⫻Job Autonomy interaction term
was signiﬁcant, explaining incremental variance in
both emotional exhaustion (
⫽.05) and job satisfaction (
⫽.07). Figures 3 and 4 illustrate these effects.
Individuals with low levels of autonomy reported
higher levels of exhaustion, t(1, 25) ⫽2.02, p⬍.01,
and lower levels of job satisfaction, t(1, 25) ⫽⫺1.60,
p⬍.10. Conversely, high autonomy respondents
reported lower levels of emotional exhaustion, t(1,
25) ⫽⫺1.92, p⬍.05, and higher levels of job
satisfaction, t(1, 25) ⫽1.78, p⬍.05.
This study characterized felt accountability as a
potential work environment stressor that has dysfunc-
tional consequences. In support, evidence of a direct
relationship between felt accountability and strain
reactions (i.e., job tension and emotional exhaustion)
was shown in each study. Furthermore, results dem-
onstrated the neutralizing effects of autonomy on job
tension, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction,
We found it interesting that job satisfaction in-
creased concurrently with felt accountability for
high-autonomy individuals. This ﬁnding supports
past research (Thoms, Dose, & Scott, 2002), which
found a positive relationship between both account-
ability to coworkers and job satisfaction and account-
ability to management and job satisfaction. Further,
Hall, Frink, et al. (2003) reported that felt account-
ability related positively to both job involvement and
Taken in their entirety, our results support the view
that stressors do not always result in negative indi-
vidual outcomes (Selye, 1982). For example, some
Figure 2. Interactive effects of felt accountability and job autonomy on job satisfaction
94 HALL ET AL.
degree of stress or urgency can have positive effects
on motivation. That is, individuals might not feel
activated to perform a task (or perform it well) if
stress is completely absent. Perhaps some degree of
felt accountability is necessary for one to feel con-
nected to or engaged in work. As such, felt account-
ability might have positive outcomes when one has
the resources (e.g., autonomy) to match or exceed the
anxiety that follows increased evaluation. However,
if one does not possess adequate resources, higher
levels of felt accountability conceivably trigger ap-
prehension due to a failure to satisfactorily control
the evaluation process.
Contributions of the Research
Accountability has frequently been treated in the
literature as an objective condition. Following more
contemporary treatments of the construct (Frink &
Klimoski, 1998; Hochwarter et al., 2003), we
adopted the phenomenological view (Tetlock, 1985,
1992), in which accountability represents a subjec-
tively experienced phenomenon. Our ﬁndings help
better establish a growing line of work that has in-
vestigated individual-level, or felt, accountability and
A ﬁnal contribution was our inclusion of COR and
self-regulation theories to explain autonomy’s role as
a moderator of the accountability–job strain relation-
ship. Including both theories was required because
choosing one would not capture the inﬂuence of
autonomy in its entirety. Speciﬁcally, possessing au-
tonomy requires individuals to (a) make work deci-
sions based on one’s perceived strengths and limita-
tions (i.e., regulate behavior to maximize the
contribution of strengths and minimize harm caused
Figure 3. Interactive effects of felt accountability and job autonomy on emotional exhaus-
tion (Study 2).
Figure 4. Interactive effects of felt accountability and job autonomy on job satisfaction
95ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN
by deﬁciencies) and (b) continually monitor exertion
and regeneration of resources deemed necessary. In-
cluding self-regulation theory allowed us to capture
the “how” of autonomy. Incorporating COR allowed
us to explain the “what” of autonomy.
Strengths and Limitations of the Research
A number of strengths warrant brief mention. First,
we were able to substantiate consistent accountabil-
ity–autonomy associations on related strain outcomes
in two unique environments, thus increasing the gen-
eralizability of our results. Second, archival informa-
tion allowed us to demonstrate that data gathered
from the participating organizations were not af-
fected by response bias.
A ﬁnal strength was our ability to conduct this
research in a ﬁeld setting. As noted, the majority of
accountability research has been performed in labo-
ratory settings (e.g., Lerner & Tetlock, 1999; Siegel-
Jacobs & Yates, 1996; Tetlock, 1985, 1992). How-
ever, the number of studies that have examined
accountability in actual organizations is limited. De-
spite the fact that laboratory settings provide the
opportunity to exercise greater control over threats to
internal validity, generalizability of the ﬁndings is
always suspect (Schwab, 1999). Lerner and Tetlock
(1999, p. 270) noted, “regardless of the kind of ac-
countability one examines, laboratory contexts typi-
cally create a situation in which people expect only a
brief encounter with someone they have never met
before and never expect to meet again.” As such, our
conclusions are strengthened by our constructively
replicated ﬁndings across two studies conducted out-
side of the laboratory.
As with any empirical research, there are limita-
tions that need to be discussed. One limitation is that
the data in each study came from a single source, a
self-report survey. Without estimating a common
method variance factor using structural equation
modeling, we were unable to determine the extent to
which the variance affected our data (Widaman,
1985; Williams, Cote, & Buckley, 1989). Although
common method variance represents a threat to the
validity of this study, an examination of Table 1 does
not suggest spuriously inﬂated relationships because
of response–response bias. Although we cannot rule
out the potential for artifactually generated effects,
the evidence suggests that common method variance
is not likely problematic.
A possible limitation in the current study is that a
self-report measure of autonomy was used in both
studies. In addition to scale measures, archival data
(e.g., those available from the Department of Trans-
portation) or job analysis ratings might be used. Be-
ing able to demonstrate our hypothesized interactions
with both self-report data and data from other sources
would strengthen our conclusions. Another limitation
is that in the absence of a structural equation model
or a true experimental design (Schwab, 1999), we
cannot assess causality. We can only state the exis-
tence or nonexistence of a relationship between the
Directions for Future Research
Research on felt accountability in organizations is
still in its early development. As such, there exists
fertile ground for future research. Frink and Klimoski
(1998) noted that scholars are beginning to more
fully understand certain aspects of the accountability
phenomenon. However, the ﬁeld has not conceptual-
ized and tested a comprehensive model of account-
ability in organizations to date (see Hall, Frink, et al.,
2003, for a modest step in this direction). The entire
body of accountability research would be greatly
served if a comprehensive model of accountability in
organizations were proposed and tested to guide fu-
Further, it would be interesting to see if other
potential resources assist the coping process by neu-
tralizing the negative effects of stressors on strains.
Recently, two studies have found political skill,
which Hobfoll (1989) would classify as a personal
characteristic resource, to moderate stressor strain–
strain relationships (Perrewe´ et al., 2004) and role
overload (Perrewe´ et al., 2005) as stressors.
Building on this idea, it may be insightful to ex-
amine the inﬂuence of role stressors (i.e., role conﬂict
and role overload) on the various relationships be-
tween accountability and work outcome. We noted in
this series of studies that high levels of accountability
would inherently lead to increases in role stressors.
However, these immediate linkages were not directly
examined. Doing so may shed additional light on this
potentially intricate relationship.
Finally, it may be useful to consider the culture of
the work environment when conducting felt account-
ability studies. Presumably, there are some settings
where accountability is ingrained in the social fabric
of the organization. Perhaps a failure to secure ap-
propriate levels of accountability to ﬁt in with other
members of the organization may be as stress-pro-
voking for some as when high levels are experienced.
96 HALL ET AL.
The recent emphasis on eliminating levels of em-
ployees has a considerable impact on both account-
ability and autonomy. For example, employees will
likely become accountable for more activities and
outcomes at work than they had previously because
of the widespread reduction of coworkers with which
to share job duties. The stress associated with in-
creased accountabilities is likely ampliﬁed by the fact
that evaluative audiences are not only larger but also
unable to spend adequate time assessing individuals’
unique contributions. As such, we expect that the
direct positive association between felt accountability
and tension will intensify as this practice continues.
Developing a greater appreciation of factors, such as
autonomy, that assuage this potentially noxious rela-
tionship represents an important endeavor.
Amabile, T. M., Hill, K., Hennessey, B. A., & Tighe, E.
(1994). The Work Preference Inventory: Assessing in-
trinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 950 –967.
Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice,
D. M. (1998). Ego depletion: Is the self a limited re-
source? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
Baumeister, R. F., Heatherton, T. F., & Tice, D. M. (1993).
When ego threats lead to self-regulation failure: Negative
consequences of high self-esteem. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 64, 141–156.
Beehr, T. (1976). Perceived situational moderators of the
relationship between subjective role ambiguity and role
strain. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, 35– 40.
Brayﬁeld, A., & Rothe, H. (1951). An index of job satis-
faction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 35, 307–311.
Brehm, J. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance. New
York: Academic Press.
Carnevale, P. (1985). Accountability of group representa-
tives and intergroup relations. In E. J. Lawler (Ed.),
Advances in group processes (Vol. 2, pp. 227–248).
Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Carver, C. (2004). Self-regulation of action and affect. In R.
Baumeister & K. Vohs (Eds.), Handbook of self-regula-
tion: Research, theory, and applications (pp. 13–39).
New York: Guilford Press.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and
self-regulation: A control theory approach to human
behavior. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1998). On the self-regula-
tion of behavior. New York: Cambridge University
Champoux, J., & Peters, W. (1987). Form, effect size, and
power in moderated regression analysis. Journal of Oc-
cupational Psychology, 60, 243–255.
Chaplin, W. (1991). The next generation of moderator re-
search in personality psychology. Journal of Personality,
Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/
correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd
ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Cottrell, N. B. (1972). Social facilitation. In C. G. Mc-
Clintock (Ed.), Experimental social psychology (pp.
185–235). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Cummings, L. L., & Anton, R. J. (1990). The logical and
appreciative dimensions of accountability. In S. Sriv-
astva, D. Cooperrider, & Associates (Eds.), Appreciative
management and leadership (pp. 257–286). San Fran-
deCharms, R. (1968). Personal causation: The internal
affective determinants of behavior. New York: Academic
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and
self-determination in human behavior. New York: Ple-
Farmer, R., & Sundberg, N. D. (1986). Boredom prone-
ness—The development and correlates of a new scale.
Journal of Personality Assessment, 50, 4 –17.
Ferris, G. R., Mitchell, T. R., Canavan, P. J., Frink, D. D.,
& Hopper, H. (1995). Accountability in human resource
systems. In G. R. Ferris, S. D. Rosen, & D. T. Barnum
(Eds.), Handbook of human resource management (pp.
175–196). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Freund, A. M., & Riediger, M. (2001). What I have and
what I do: The role of resource loss and gain throughout
life. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 50,
Frink, D. D., & Klimoski, R. J. (1998). Toward a theory of
accountability in organizations and human resource man-
agement. In G. R. Ferris (Ed.), Research in personnel
and human resources management (Vol. 16, pp. 1–51).
Stamford, CT: JAI Press.
Frink, D. D., & Klimoski, R. J. (2004). Advancing account-
ability theory and practice: Introduction to the human
resource management review special edition. Human Re-
source Management Review, 14, 1–17.
Gelfand, M. J., Lim, B., & Raver, J. L. (2004). Culture and
accountability in organizations: Variations in forms of
social control across cultures. Human Resource Manage-
ment Review, 14, 135–160.
Green, M. C., Visser, P. S., & Tetlock, P. E. (2000). Coping
with accountability cross-pressures: Low effort evasive
tactics and high-effort quests for complex compromises.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 11,
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1976). Motivation
through the design of work: Test of a theory. Organiza-
tional Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 250 –279.
Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. (1980). Work redesign.
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
Hall, A. T., Frink, D. D., Ferris, G. R., Hochwarter, W. A.,
Kacmar, C. J., & Bowen, M. G. (2003). Accountability in
human resources management. In C. A. Schriesheim &
L. Neider (Eds.), New directions in human resource
management (pp. 29 – 63). Greenwich, CT: Information
Hall, A. T., Hochwarter, W. A., & Ferris, G. R. (2003).
Accountability ⫻job efﬁcacy on citizenship and politics.
Paper presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the
Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Or-
Hobfoll, S. E. (1989). Conservation of resources: A new
97ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN
attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist,
Hobfoll, S. E. (2002). Social and psychological resources
and adaptation. Review of General Psychology, 6,
Hobfoll, S. E., & Freedy, J. (1993). Conservation of re-
sources: A general stress theory applied to burnout. In W.
Schaufeli, C. Maslach, & T. Marek (Eds.), Professional
burnout: Recent developments in theory and practice
(pp. 115–129). Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis.
Hochwarter, W. A., Kacmar, C. J., & Ferris, G. R. (2003).
Accountability at work: An examination of antecedents
and consequences. Paper presented at the 18th Annual
Conference of the Society of Industrial and Organiza-
tional Psychology, Orlando, FL.
Holahan, C. J., Moos, R. H., Holahan, C. K., & Cronkite,
R. C. (1999). Resource loss, resource gain and depressive
symptoms: A 10-year model. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 77, 620 – 629.
House, R. J., & Rizzo, J. R. (1972). Role conﬂict and
ambiguity as critical variables in a model of organiza-
tional behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human
Performance, 7, 467–505.
Hull, C. L. (1943). Principles of behavior. New York:
Ito, J. K., & Brotheridge, C. M. (2003). Resources, coping
strategies, and emotional exhaustion: A conservation of
resources perspective. Journal of Vocational Behavior,
63, 490 –509.
Judge, T., Locke, E., Durham, C., & Kluger, A. (1998).
Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: The role
of core evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83,
Karasek, R. (1979). Job demands, job decision latitude, and
mental strain: Implications for job redesign. Administra-
tive Science Quarterly, 24, 285–306.
Katz, D., & Kahn, R. L. (1978). The social psychology of
organizations (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
Klimoski, R., & Inks, L. (1990). Accountability forces in
performance appraisal. Organizational Behavior and Hu-
man Decision Processes, 45, 194 –208.
Koestner, R., & Zuckerman, M. (1994). Causality orienta-
tions, failure, and achievement. Journal of Personality,
Latham, G., & Yukl, G. (1976). The effects of assigned and
participative goal setting on performance and job satis-
faction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 61, 166 –177.
Leana, C. R., Ahlbrandt, R. S., & Murrell, A. (1992). The
effects of employee involvement programs on unionized
workers’ attitude, perceptions, and preferences in deci-
sion making. Academy of Management Journal, 35,
Lerner, J. S., & Tetlock, P. E. (1999). Accounting for the
effects of accountability. Psychological Bulletin, 125,
Lindkvist, L., & Llewellyn, S. (2003). Accountability, re-
sponsibility, and organization. Scandinavian Journal of
Management, 19, 251–273.
Lykken, D. T. (1968). Statistical signiﬁcance in psycholog-
ical research. Psychological Bulletin, 70, 151–159.
Monnier, J., Cameron, R. P., Hobfoll, S. E., & Gribble, J. R.
(2002). The impact of resource loss and critical incidents
on psychological functioning in ﬁre-emergency workers:
A pilot study. International Journal of Stress Manage-
ment, 9, 11–29.
Noe, R., Wilk, S., Mullen, E., & Wanek, J. (1997). Em-
ployee development: Issues in construct deﬁnition and
investigation of antecedents. In J. Ford, K. Kozlowski, E.
Kraiger, E. Salas, & M. Teachout (Eds.), Improving
training effectiveness in work organizations (pp. 153–
188). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Perrewe´, P. L., Zellars, K. L., Ferris, G. R., Rossi, A. M.,
Kacmar, C. J., & Ralston, D. A. (2004). Neutralizing job
stressors: Political skill as an antidote to the dysfunc-
tional consequences of role conﬂict stressors. Academy of
Management Journal, 47, 141–152.
Perrewe´, P. L., Zellars, K. L., Rossi, A. M., Ferris, G. R.,
Kacmar, C. J., Liu, Y., Zinko, R., & Hochwarter, W. A.
(in press). Political skill: An antidote in the role over-
load–strain relationship. Journal of Occupational Health
Psychology, 10, 239 –250.
Pierce, J. L., & Dunham, R. B. (1992). The 12-hour work
day: A 48 hour, eight-day week. Academy of Manage-
ment Journal, 35, 1086 –1098.
Pines, A. M., Aronson, E., & Kafry, D. (1981). Burnout:
From tedium to personal growth. New York: Free Press.
Quinn, A., & Schlenker, B. R. (2002). Can accountability
produce independence? Goals as determinants of the
impact of accountability on conformity. Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 472– 478.
Royle, M. T., Hall, A. T., Hochwarter, W. A., Perrewe´, P., &
Ferris, G. R. (2005). The interactive effects of accountabil-
ity and job self-efﬁcacy on organizational citizenship and
political behavior. Organizational Analysis, 13, 53–72.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination
theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social
development, and well-being. American Psychologist,
55, 68 –78.
Ryan, R. M., Sheldon, K. M., Kasser, T., & Deci, E. L.
(1996). All goals are not created equal: An organismic
perspective on the nature of goals and their regulation. In
P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of
action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior
(pp. 7–26). New York: Guilford Press.
Schlenker, B. R., Britt, T. W., Pennington, J., Murphy, R.,
& Doherty, K. (1994). The triangle model of responsi-
bility. Psychological Review, 101, 632– 652.
Schlenker, B. R., Weigold, M. F., & Doherty, K. (1991).
Coping with accountability: Self-identiﬁcation and eval-
uative reckonings. In C. R. Snyder & D. R. Forsyth
(Eds.), Handbook of social and clinical psychology (pp.
96 –115). New York: Pergamon Press.
Schwab, D. P. (1999). Research methods for organizational
studies, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Selye, H. (1982). History and present status of the stress
concept. In L. Goldberg & S. Brenitz (Eds.), Handbook
of stress (pp. 7–17). New York: Free Press.
Semin, G. R., & Manstead, A. (1983). The accountability of
conduct. London: Academic Press.
Sheridan, J. E., & Vredenburgh, D. J. (1978). Usefulness of
leader behavior and social power variables in predicting
job tension, performance, and turnover of nursing em-
ployees. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 89 –95.
Siegel-Jacobs, K., & Yates, J. F. (1996). Effects of proce-
dural and outcome accountability on judgment quality.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Pro-
cesses, 65, 1–17.
98 HALL ET AL.
Simmering, M. J., Colquitt, J. A., Noe, R. A., & Porter, C.
(2003). Conscientiousness, autonomy, ﬁt, and employee
development: A longitudinal ﬁeld study. Journal of Ap-
plied Psychology, 88, 954 –963.
Spector, P. E. (1986). Perceived control by employees: A
meta-analysis of studies concerning autonomy and par-
ticipation at work. Human Relations, 39, 1005–1016.
Stone, E., & Hollenbeck, J. (1989). Clarifying some con-
troversial issues surrounding statistical procedures for
detecting moderator variables: Empirical evidence and
related matters. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 3–10.
Tetlock, P. E. (1985). Accountability: The neglected social
context of judgment and choice. In L. L. Cummings &
B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior
(Vol. 7, pp. 297–332). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Tetlock, P. (1992). The impact of accountability on judg-
ment and choice: Toward a social contingency model. In
M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psy-
chology (pp. 331–377). New York: Academic Press.
Thoms, P., Dose, J. P., & Scott, K. (2002). Relationships
between accountability, job satisfaction, and trust. Hu-
man Resource Development Quarterly, 13, 307–323.
Tummers, G., Landeweerd, J. A., & van Merode, G. G.
(2002). Work organization, work characteristics, and
their psychological effects on nurses in the Netherlands.
International Journal of Stress Management, 9, 183–206.
Vohs, K., & Baumeister, R. F. (2004). Understanding self-
regulation. In R. Baumeister & K. Vohs (Eds.), Hand-
book of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applica-
tion (pp. 1–9). New York: Guilford Press.
Widaman, K. F. (1985). Hierarchically nested covariance
structure models for multitrait–multimethod data. Ap-
plied Psychological Measurement, 9, 1–26.
Williams, L. J., Cote, J. A., & Buckley, R. M. (1989). Lack
of method variance in self-reported affect and percep-
tions at work: Reality or artifact? Journal of Applied
Psychology, 74, 462– 468.
Wright, P. M. (1992). An examination of the relationships
among monetary incentives, goal commitment, and per-
formance. Journal of Management, 18, 677– 693.
Wright, T., & Hobfoll, S. E. (2004). Commitment, psy-
chological well-being, and job performance: An exam-
ination of conservation of resources (COR) theory and
job burnout. Journal of Business Management, 21,
Zajonc, R. B. (1965, February 16). Social facilitation. Sci-
ence, 149, 269 –274.
Factor Analyses for the Felt Accountability Scale
I am held very accountable for my actions at work. .61 .58
I often have to explain why I do certain things at work. .55 .63
Top management holds me accountable for all of my decisions. .73 .69
If things at work do not go the way that they should, I will
hear about it from top management. .68 .61
To a great extent, the success of my immediate work group
rests on my shoulders. .74 .66
The jobs of many people at work depend on my success or
failures. .68 .59
In the grand scheme of things, my efforts at work are very
important. .56 .51
Coworkers, subordinates, and bosses closely scrutinize my
efforts at work. .65 .59
Eigenvalue 3.39 3.49
Proportion of variance explained .46 .44
Received November 15, 2004
Revision received April 25, 2005
Accepted June 4, 2005 y
99ACCOUNTABILITY, AUTONOMY, AND STRAIN