Seeking “conversations for accountability”:Mediating the impact of non-governmental organization (NGO) upward accountability processes

Agyemang, Gloria and O’Dwyer, Brendan and Unerman, J. and Awumbila, Mariama (2017) Seeking “conversations for accountability”:Mediating the impact of non-governmental organization (NGO) upward accountability processes. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 30 (5). pp. 982-1007. ISSN 0951-3574

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to ascertain how upward accountability processes can be enabling in, or constraining to, the effective deployment of development aid funding. Design/methodology/approach: The paper derives its primary insights from in-depth interviews and focus groups with non-governmental organization (NGO) fieldworkers working and delivering development aid in Northern Ghana. It analyses inductively the perspectives of fieldworkers to explain their experiences of upward accountability. Findings: The fieldworkers’ perception of upward accountability was mainly one of external control, in response to which they enacted a skilful form of compliance accountability. This perception of control failed to stifle their initiative and intrinsic commitment to beneficiaries. The fieldworkers craved “conversations for accountability”, in which they had a voice in the development of upward accountability metrics, thereby enabling them to fulfil their sense of felt responsibility to beneficiaries. While aspects of “conversations for accountability” were emerging in fieldworker-funder interactions, it was unclear to what extent funders were committed to further advancing them. Overall, the analysis unveils how felt responsibility mediates for, and partly diminishes, the perceived negative impacts on aid effectiveness of upward accountability processes informed by a focus on control. Originality/value: The authors examine the potential of upward accountability processes using in-depth analyses of the actual experiences of those involved in delivering NGO services at the grassroots level. The authors contribute to emerging work in this vein by enriching the authors’ understanding of local constituencies’ experiences of accountability processes more generally, especially the impact these mechanisms have on NGO operational activities. The authors also unveil the mediating role fieldworkers’ “felt responsibility” to beneficiaries’ plays in moderating the perceived negative impacts on aid effectiveness of upward accountability processes. © 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Additional Information: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2000/2001
Subjects:
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Accounting & Finance
ID Code: 127036
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2018 10:30
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2020 04:35
URI: https://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/127036

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