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Who’s in charge, in whose interest? The experience of ownership and accountability in the charity sector

Who’s in charge, in whose interest? The experience of ownership and accountability in the charity... This paper aims to examine the puzzles of “ownership”, the legal and psychological commitment of directors, through the experience of the work of boards at non-profit organisations.Design/methodology/approachAn exploration of the literature on charity governance leads to a first-person reflection on the tensions in directing two common types of non-profit organisations.FindingsIn the UK as in other countries, charities are companies, bound by company law as well as regulatory constraints of the non-profit sector. This creates responsibilities of ownership without the material benefits. In contrast to corporate share ownership, a sense of psychological ownership may pre-date appointment as a director, facilitating stewardship behaviour, facilitating stewardship and accountability.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper calls for expanded empirical work on boards of non-profit organisations, giving a focused agenda of aspects to highlight the differences between charities and the corporate sector.Practical implicationsThe focus on psychological ownership can influence recruitment, induction and organisation of the work of charity boards, helping to ease resource deficits.Social implicationsWith pressure mounting in deliver of public services, the charity sector needs to fill growing gaps in provision. The constitution of boards plays a valuable role.Originality/valueBy incorporating psychological ownership in a framework of accountability, this paper points towards both a research agenda and practical considerations for charity boards. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Research Review Emerald Publishing

Who’s in charge, in whose interest? The experience of ownership and accountability in the charity sector

Management Research Review , Volume 44 (3): 17 – Mar 2, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2040-8269
eISSN
2040-8269
DOI
10.1108/mrr-04-2020-0190
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to examine the puzzles of “ownership”, the legal and psychological commitment of directors, through the experience of the work of boards at non-profit organisations.Design/methodology/approachAn exploration of the literature on charity governance leads to a first-person reflection on the tensions in directing two common types of non-profit organisations.FindingsIn the UK as in other countries, charities are companies, bound by company law as well as regulatory constraints of the non-profit sector. This creates responsibilities of ownership without the material benefits. In contrast to corporate share ownership, a sense of psychological ownership may pre-date appointment as a director, facilitating stewardship behaviour, facilitating stewardship and accountability.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper calls for expanded empirical work on boards of non-profit organisations, giving a focused agenda of aspects to highlight the differences between charities and the corporate sector.Practical implicationsThe focus on psychological ownership can influence recruitment, induction and organisation of the work of charity boards, helping to ease resource deficits.Social implicationsWith pressure mounting in deliver of public services, the charity sector needs to fill growing gaps in provision. The constitution of boards plays a valuable role.Originality/valueBy incorporating psychological ownership in a framework of accountability, this paper points towards both a research agenda and practical considerations for charity boards.

Journal

Management Research ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 2, 2021

Keywords: Corporate governance; Directors; Non-profit organisations; Charity boards; Trustees

References