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The government must hold managements accountable for wasting the people’s money.

I don't have a grasp of the meaning of this sentence.

Accountable means responsible.

I think a management responsible for wasting the people's money is the management already done badly.

I don't understand how you can say the government "must hold" such management (which is already done badly) from now on.

  • Your sentence starting with I think... is "jarring" to native speakers, because it uses management in two significantly different senses in the same utterance. In the first, it means the people managing a company or organization, regarded collectively, but the second is obviously an alternative definition (also in that link) - the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. Apart from that, neither of the definite articles (the) would normally be used in such a construction. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 24 '15 at 12:49
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Good thought, but slightly off the mark:

to hold (someone) accountable for means to consider someone responsible and therefore possibly punishable for something.

In your example, the governement us not supposed to hold onto bad management, but consider them liable - and act accordingly.

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There are a couple of bits that you've got mixed up:

First, as Stephie wrote, holding someone or something accountable means to consider them liable (usually for the actions that they had control over.)

From the Free Dictionary's definition of the idiom:

hold someone accountable (for something): to consider someone responsible for something; to blame something on someone.

Here we're talking about a corporate entity that has done something wrong, and we're considering who should take the blame for that behavior.

Secondly, management refers to the people in charge at an organization. From Merriam-Webster:

management(n) 3 : the collective body of those who manage or direct an enterprise

Finally, the sentence must be read considering the context in which it was written. The sentence seems to be referring either to corruption (a business misusing or stealing money from the government) or perhaps to the 2007-2008 financial crisis (many businesses were responsible for enormous damage to the world economy with little or no consequences to the individuals in charge.)

So, with all of that in mind:

The government must hold managements accountable for wasting the people’s money.

means

The government must consider those people who are in charge of companies that have wasted the people's money to be responsible for their companies' actions {and be punished accordingly.}

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The sentence appears to use "management" as a noun, as in "the management organization" or "those in management". It is not a common usage, or, I think, a correct one.

  • Management has various uses, but it is always a noun. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 24 '15 at 13:18
  • You're right. I was thinking that its use here seems to refer to a group of people. – rcook Oct 24 '15 at 15:44
  • When discussing a business hierarchy the word management means those people who are in charge of directing the business. It's a common usage and entirely correct, though it probably shouldn't be plural in the quotation. – Jason Patterson Oct 24 '15 at 18:26

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