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This paper aims to explore how accountability to members is practised within credit unions. In particular, this study examines formal and informal practices and underlying approaches regarding accountability to members.Design/methodology/approachAdopting a case study approach, this study explores accountability within two credit unions in the lightly-regulated context of Indonesia through focus group discussions with credit union practitioners and documentary analysis.FindingsFindings reveal both credit unions prioritised accountability to members for financial and social performance, underpinned by a socialising, relational approach and driven by a strong sense of social mission. Various mechanisms were adopted to directly address accountability to and empowerment of members, facilitating their participation and education. Further, several mechanisms of and approaches to accountability to other stakeholders indirectly enhanced the credit unions’ accountability to members.Research limitations/implicationsThis study highlights the interrelated nature of credit unions’ accountability mechanisms to members. Further, empowerment through participation, education and small business development, suggests valuable investment in members’ social, intellectual and financial capital.Originality/valueThis study examines the socialising nature of accountability to credit union members and other stakeholders to support members’ interests, providing insights into how third sector organisations more broadly might enhance accountability to those the organisation seeks to serve.
Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 16, 2021
Keywords: Developing countries; Credit unions; Member/beneficiary accountability; Socialising accountability
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