The reason why HR practitioners advocate a ‘no-blame culture’ is because a culture in which the finger of blame is constantly being pointed at people does not generate willing participation or sustained high levels of productivity (Off Message, Personnel Today, 10 June).
However, that is not the same as saying that people should not accept responsibility for their actions. On the contrary, successful organisations tend to be very clear about lines of responsibility and accountability.
If this is coupled with an environment of support and trust, people are prepared to admit when things go wrong and to learn from that. On occasions, a major error may require the person responsible to fall on their sword and quite rightly so.
But the problem is that in far too many organisations, both in the public and private sector, managers who should be accountable for the actions of their subordinates, are far too willing to pass the blame onto those subordinates when things do go wrong.
HR practitioners can try to promote a culture in which everyone is willing to accept responsibility for their actions, but ultimately leaders set the tone.