Accountability is seen as an essential feature of governments, businesses and NGOs. This volume treats it as a socially constructed means of control that can be used by the weak as well as the powerful. It contributes analytical depth to the diverse debates on accountability in modern organizations by exploring its nature, forms and impacts in civil society organizations, public and inter-governmental agencies and private corporations. The contributors draw from a range of disciplines to demonstrate the inadequacy of modern rationalist prescriptions for establishing and monitoring accountability standards, arguing that accountability frameworks attached to principal-agent logics and applied universally across cultures typically fail to achieve their objectives. By examining a diverse range of empirical examples and case studies, this book underscores the importance of grounding accountability procedures and standards in the divergent cultural, social and political settings in which they operate.