From monologic to dialogic: accountability of nonprofit organisations on beneficiaries' terms

Kingston, Kylie L. and Furneaux, Craig and de Zwaan, Laura and Alderman, Lyn ORCID: (2019) From monologic to dialogic: accountability of nonprofit organisations on beneficiaries' terms. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 33 (2). pp. 447-471. ISSN 1368-0668


Purpose: Informed by the critical perspective of dialogic accounting theory, the purpose of this paper is to explore the use of evaluation as a means of enhancing accountability to beneficiaries within nonprofit organisations (NPOs). As a stakeholder group frequently marginalised by traditional accounting practices, the participation of beneficiaries within a NPO’s accountability structure is presented as a means of increasing social justice.

Design/methodology/approach: The research design used case studies involving two NPOs, examining documents and conducting interviews across three stakeholder groups, within each organisation.

Findings: Findings reveal that when viewed on beneficiaries’ terms, accountability to beneficiaries, through participative evaluation, needs to consider the particular timeframe of beneficiary engagement within each organisation. This temporal element positions downwards accountability to beneficiaries within NPOs as multi-modal.

Research limitations/implications: The research poses a limit to statistical generalisability outside of the specific research context. However, the research prioritises theoretical generalisation to social forms and meanings, and as such provides insights for literature.

Practical implications: In acknowledging that beneficiaries have accountability needs dependent upon their timeframe of participation, NPOs can better target their downwards accountability structures. This research also has practical implications in its attempt to action two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Originality/value: This paper makes a contribution to the limited research into nonprofit accountability towards beneficiaries. Dialogic accounting theory is enacted to explore how accountability can be practised on beneficiaries’ terms.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2021 23:22
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2021 00:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability; Beneficiary; Critical accounting; Dialogic accounting theory; Nonprofit organizations; Participative evaluation
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1607 Social Work > 160703 Social Program Evaluation
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1501 Accounting, Auditing and Accountability > 150101 Accounting Theory and Standards
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380119 Welfare economics
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9405 Work and Institutional Development > 940503 Time Use, Unpaid Work and Volunteering
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1504 Measurement standards and calibration services > 150404 Service industries standards and calibrations
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