The paradox of greater NGO accountability: A case study of Amnesty Ireland
Despite mounting public, governmental and corporate interest in issues of non-governmental organisation (NGO) accountability, there are few academic studies investigating the emergence of accountability mechanisms in specific advocacy NGO settings. Drawing on the theoretical constructs of hierarchical and holistic accountability, this paper addresses this research gap by investigating recent developments in accountability practices at the Irish section of the human rights advocacy NGO Amnesty International. Through analysis of a series of in-depth interviews with managers in Amnesty Ireland, supported by extensive documentary scrutiny, this study examines reasons why Amnesty's historical reliance on internal forms of accountability has been augmented with a range of ad hoc external accountability mechanisms. The study reveals that while managers favoured the development of holistic accountability mechanisms exhibiting accountability to a wide range of stakeholders, a hierarchical conception of accountability privileging a narrow range of (potentially) powerful stakeholders, has begun to dominate external accountability discourse and practice. It was widely perceived that this trend could, somewhat paradoxically, prove counterproductive to the achievement of Amnesty's mission. Resolving this paradox will, at a minimum, involve Amnesty Ireland's leadership becoming more open to and more knowledgeable about a broader, more holistic accountability conception. The paper considers the possible implications of these findings for the development of NGO holistic accountability practice more generally.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:319-348 is not listed on IDEAS
- Wood Júnior, Thomaz, 2005. "Editorial," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 45(1), January.
- Vakil, Anna C., 1997. "Confronting the classification problem: Toward a taxonomy of NGOs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(12), pages 2057-2070, December.
- Brendan O'Dwyer, 2007. "From functional to social accountability," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 446-471, August.
- Roberts, John, 1991. "The possibilities of accountability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 355-368.
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:377-404 is not listed on IDEAS
- D. Gotteland, 2005. "Editorial," Post-Print halshs-00094555, HAL.
- Roberts, John & Scapens, Robert, 1985. "Accounting systems and systems of accountability -- understanding accounting practices in their organisational contexts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-456, October.
- Unerman, Jeffrey & Bennett, Mark, 2004. "Increased stakeholder dialogue and the internet: towards greater corporate accountability or reinforcing capitalist hegemony?," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 685-707, October.
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:349-376 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:305-318 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:eme:aaajpp:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:405-427 is not listed on IDEAS
- Nelson, Paul J. & Dorsey, Ellen, 2003. "At the Nexus of Human Rights and Development: New Methods and Strategies of Global NGOs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 2013-2026, December.
- D. Gotteland, 2005. "Editorial," Post-Print halshs-00103100, HAL.
- Colin Dey, 2007. "Social accounting at Traidcraft plc," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 423-445, August.
- Cooper, Stuart M. & Owen, David L., 2007. "Corporate social reporting and stakeholder accountability: The missing link," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(7-8), pages 649-667.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:33:y:2008:i:7-8:p:801-824. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.