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Accountability and accounting in the NGO field comprising the UK and Africa – a Bordieusian analysis

Accountability and accounting in the NGO field comprising the UK and Africa – a Bordieusian analysis
Accountability and accounting in the NGO field comprising the UK and Africa – a Bordieusian analysis
The main purpose of this paper, and its main contribution, is to develop an understanding of accounting and accountability practices and perceptions in NGOs operating in Africa. It draws upon a broad set of Bourdieu’s concepts, comprising field, capital, doxa and habitus alongside the use of grounded theory methods to code and categorise the empirical data. Data was collected from eleven NGOs, selected to provide a comparative set, encompassing national, NGO type and religious affiliation. A contextual field analysis revealed the dominance of Northern NGOs, resulting from their ownership and control of capital, in influencing accountability perceptions and the importance of legitimacy. An organisational analysis revealed the importance of habitus and doxa underpinning conceptions and practices of accountability and accounting, to emerge. It also enabled the identification of ‘existential doxa’ and ’accountability doxa’ which provided the link between the field and the accountability habitus to be understood. The resulting understanding explains accounting and accountability practices as resulting from strategies adopted in response to the accountability habituses, underpinned by doxa, which themselves are responses to the contexts with in which the NGOs operate. The context comprises the field within which NGOs struggle for capital resources, alongside existential choices made by the NGOs themselves.

Accountability, NGO, accounting, africa, bourdieu
1045-2354
Goddard, Andrew
1bee5bd5-13fe-43e5-9c7d-a23acdf431b2
Goddard, Andrew
1bee5bd5-13fe-43e5-9c7d-a23acdf431b2

Goddard, Andrew (2020) Accountability and accounting in the NGO field comprising the UK and Africa – a Bordieusian analysis. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 0, [102200]. (doi:10.1016/j.cpa.2020.102200).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The main purpose of this paper, and its main contribution, is to develop an understanding of accounting and accountability practices and perceptions in NGOs operating in Africa. It draws upon a broad set of Bourdieu’s concepts, comprising field, capital, doxa and habitus alongside the use of grounded theory methods to code and categorise the empirical data. Data was collected from eleven NGOs, selected to provide a comparative set, encompassing national, NGO type and religious affiliation. A contextual field analysis revealed the dominance of Northern NGOs, resulting from their ownership and control of capital, in influencing accountability perceptions and the importance of legitimacy. An organisational analysis revealed the importance of habitus and doxa underpinning conceptions and practices of accountability and accounting, to emerge. It also enabled the identification of ‘existential doxa’ and ’accountability doxa’ which provided the link between the field and the accountability habitus to be understood. The resulting understanding explains accounting and accountability practices as resulting from strategies adopted in response to the accountability habituses, underpinned by doxa, which themselves are responses to the contexts with in which the NGOs operate. The context comprises the field within which NGOs struggle for capital resources, alongside existential choices made by the NGOs themselves.

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Accepted/In Press date: 1 June 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 July 2020
Keywords: Accountability, NGO, accounting, africa, bourdieu

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441820
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441820
ISSN: 1045-2354
PURE UUID: 8cdb04d9-0103-41f2-b1ad-158df9684c9b

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Date deposited: 29 Jun 2020 16:32
Last modified: 04 Mar 2021 17:46

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Author: Andrew Goddard

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