This paper aims to examine the accountability practices of large United Kingdom (UK) charities through public discourse.
Based on the ethical model of stakeholder theory, the paper develops a framework for classifying not‐for‐profit (NFP) accountability and analyzes the content of the annual reports and annual reviews of a sample of large UK charities using this framework.
The results suggest that contrary to the ethical model of stakeholder theory, the sample charities' accountability practices are motivated by a desire to legitimize their activities and present their organizations' activities in a positive light. These results contradict the raison d'être of NFP organizations (NFPOs) and the values that they espouse.
Understanding the nature of accountability reporting in NFPOs has important implications for preparers and policy makers involved in furthering the NFP agenda. New research needs to examine shifts in accountability practices over time and assess the impact of the recent self‐regulation developed to enhance sector accountability.
This paper contributes to the NFP accountability literature by: first, developing a framework of NFP accountability through public discourse using the ethical model of stakeholder theory; and second, advancing the understanding of the accountability practices of large UK charities.
Dhanani, A. and Connolly, C. (2012), "Discharging not‐for‐profit accountability: UK charities and public discourse", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 1140-1169. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513571211263220Download as .RIS
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