they are not responsible for enacting the will of those who empower them; they have different sorts of official duties. In fact, one might say that among their duties is the duty to resist enacting the will of those who empowered them when to do so would bend or violate the law. In general, the principal-agent model sharply restricts the scope for leadership. It does not allow that the role of a leader could include defying the transitory popular will or forming people’s preferences in the direction of their true interests, obligations or long term good.
The trustee model of delegation (IIb), in contrast, presupposes that officials will use discretion. Hence, the implicit standard for abuse of power differs from that implied by the principal-agent model. Deviations of the agent’s actions from the principal’s desires would not necessarily constitute abuse of power. A representative or officeholder could defend an unpopular exercise of power as legitimate by showing that it was both within the officer’s jurisdiction and actually served the purposes for which he or she was authorized to act (Burke, 1774/1949). Accountability mechanisms consistent with this model are designed to ensure that officials exercise their discretion, which might be considerable, in accord with their official duties.
The two basic models, participation and delegation, lead to different strategies and mechanisms for accountability, because they are grounded in different notions of legitimacy. In the participation model, those affected hold power-wielders accountable directly through participation, whereas in the delegation model, those delegating power hold power-wielders accountable through a variety of mechanisms for judgment after the fact.