Contextualizing accountability: The lived experience of nonprofit executives and its implications for nonprofit organizations

by Nugent, Irvine M. J., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 219 pages; 3336838


In recent years both, the corporate and nonprofit world was shuck by a series of abuses and illegal activities. This has led to the government followed by the nonprofit sector intervening with laws and recommendations for greater accountability. It is the role of the nonprofit executive to respond to this changing environment and implement any reforms needed in the organization. Little research has taken place in this specific area. The purpose of this qualitative, hermeneutic, phenomenological study was to understand the lived experience of nonprofit executives as they manage issues of accountability. The study used purposeful sampling to identify ten nonprofit executives in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami metropolitan area with the aid of an Internet nonprofit database. Data was gathered using long in-depth interviews with semi-structured questions. The study identified 13 main themes. Executives defined accountability in a multi-layered fashion noting its complexity. The study also found that recent scandals affected executives in various ways and demanded a proactive response from them. Impression management theory showed that in the presence of scandal executives are motivated to manage the image that others have of them. The study also identified the different concerns of diverse stakeholders as they defined accountability. Finally, the study pointed to different supports that nonprofit executives needed to help them manage their respective organizations. The study finishes with four recommendations for best practice, the need for further financial management education for executives, the important of a strong board/executive relationship, the importance of a proactive management approach, and the importance of voluntary accreditation.

AdviserYvonne J. Kochanowski
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Public administration; Public policy
Publication Number3336838

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