Microfinance: accountability from the grassroots

Dixon, R., Ritchie, J. and Siwale, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6315-0896, 2006. Microfinance: accountability from the grassroots. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 19 (3), pp. 405-427. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose: The purpose of this research is to use an accountability framework to explain the emerging tensions in accountability and how an intended bottom‐up approach became progressively supplanted. This paper is set within an emerging Zambian microfinance organisation moving into crisis.

Design/methodology/approach: A series of semi‐structured interviews were conducted with key local microfinance specialists, managers and accountants, clients and past and current loan officers. Live observation of the client‐loan officer interface and internal meetings provided triangulation on accountability relationships in the midst of crisis. Data were analysed using NVIVO, a qualitative computer software package.

Findings: The findings show that tensions between vertical and horizontal accountability in practice can be directly translated into heightened pressure and stresses on both the non‐governmental organisation (NGO) and its loan officers, which constrain overall accountabilities to other stakeholders and disguise other potential dysfunctions.

Research limitations/implications: This study focussed on accountability at the grassroots in microfinance NGOs with a social mission. It reveals potential for further personal, community and socially constituted accounting research within microfinance in particular.

Originality/value: The paper adds to the literature on NGO accountability. It will be of value to researchers and practitioners seeking to gain a better understanding of not‐for‐profit organisations whose goals are not primarily wealth creation. It also gives details on under‐researched areas in accounting, namely NGOs and poverty reduction, and practices in Sub‐Saharan Africa.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal
Creators: Dixon, R., Ritchie, J. and Siwale, J.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 2006
Volume: 19
Number: 3
ISSN: 0951-3574
Rights: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2006.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 09 Oct 2018 10:59
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2019 16:20
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/34626

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