What Costs Accountability? Financial Accountability, Mission and Fundraising in Nonprofits

Pawson, Benjamin J. & Joannidès, Vassili (2015) What Costs Accountability? Financial Accountability, Mission and Fundraising in Nonprofits. In Hoque, Zahirul & Parker, Lee (Eds.) Performance Management in Nonprofit Organizations : Global Perspectives. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, United States of America, pp. 211-233.

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Although greater calls for accountability have been articulated by academics, policy makers and donors in the recent years, a stream of thought has been questioning where the giving of an account should stop. In conveying the limits to the giving of an account (Messner, 2009) and associated transparency (Roberts, 2009), critical accounting scholars have also pointed to as yet unresolved contradictions intrinsic to accountability (McKernan, 2012), especially when it comes to be operationalised (Joannides, 2012). The impact of accountability's discharging on nonprofits' strategy or operations has to date been underexplored (Dhanni & Connelly, 2012; Tucker & Parker, 2013). Accordingly, this chapter seeks to contribute to this body of literature on the consequences of accountability on fundraising strategies in nonprofits, questioning whether accountability practice may hamper the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector by restraining the fundraising profession. Our chapter seeks to fill a dual theoretical gap. Firstly, only a number of publications have investigated the interplay between accountability and the making of organisational strategy (Parker, 2002, 2003b, 2011, 2012, 2013; Tucker & Parker, 2013). Therefore, we seek to fill a theoretical gap as to the impact of accountability on the conduct of straegic operations. By questioning whether accountability hampers fundraising strategy in non-profits we are also contributing to the literature balancing accountability and the mission. In this literature, it appears that money and the mission are often conflictual, financial managers being often seen by mission advocates as guardians shielding organisational resources (Chiapello, 1993, 1998; Lightbody, 2000, 2003). Another approach shows that making nonprofits accountable to capital and multiple stakeholders (donors, public authorities) leaders to changes in organisational culture (O'Dwyer & Unerman, 2007; Unerman & Bennett, 2004; Underman & O'Dwyer, 2006a, 2006b, 2008). By examining a small number of cases we show how accountability practices result in fundraising adapting and adjusting under such external pressures and constraints. We also show accountability systems may have a direct impact on the conduct of strategic operations, which might hamper mission conduct.

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ID Code: 79531
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Accountability, Mission and Fundraising in Nonprofits, Financial accountability
ISBN: 9781138787988
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
Deposited On: 19 Dec 2014 02:13
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2016 15:12

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