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Title: The discharge of accountability by UK social enterprise organisations
Author: Kelly, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 0837
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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The size and profile of the social enterprise sector in the United Kingdom (UK) has increased considerably as support has grown for the values on which these organisations are based. While there is a rich literature on accountability in the private and public sectors, together with the wider not-for-profit (NFP) sector, social enterprise organisations (SEOs) have received comparatively little attention and remain a relatively under-researched organisational form. Furthermore, on the basis that SEOs have a duty to account to their stakeholders, little is known about the current extent of their accountability information disclosure. The overall research objective of the thesis is to investigate how UK SEOs discharge accountability. Based on the findings from the document analysis, and drawing on key themes from the literature review, the views of SEO stakeholders in relation to the discharge of accountability were sought from a series of semi-structured interviews. In terms of the theoretical contribution of the research, the findings suggest that whilst SEOs are talking publicly and presenting the image of the importance of discharging 'holistic' accountability, there is evidence of a dichotomy between 'what they say' and 'what they practice'. Moreover, the findings strongly indicate that, for SEOs, there is more emphasis on discharging legal (fiduciary), as opposed to constructive and voluntary accountability via the annual report and annual review. More specifically, and contrary to Donaldson and Preston's (1995) normative view of stakeholder theory, SEOs are not using their annual reports/reviews as a medium to account for their social and environmental impacts to their wider stakeholders, and that the annual report is being used as a legitimising device to ensure that legal obligations are complied with. In addition, despite recognising a 'felt' responsibility to wider stakeholders, those within the SEOs providing an account, are the ones deciding what information is actually provided.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available