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Social responsibility disclosure, accountability mechanisms and empowerment: evidence of mercy malaysia

Abdul Aziz, N. and Coulson, A.B. (2010) Social responsibility disclosure, accountability mechanisms and empowerment: evidence of mercy malaysia. In: APIRA Conference, 2010-07-11 - 2010-07-13. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Malaysia face increasing attention from the public and government agencies due to their provision of aid. This includes questions regarding the appropriateness of adopting accounting mechanisms designed for corporate organisations to NGOs with social objectives and no profit motive. The empirical research study reported in this paper centres on the accountability relations of one such NGO - MERCY Malaysia. MERCY occupies a dominant position in providing humanitarian assistance and medical relief to disasters around the world; they are a fully-certified member of the Humanitarian Accountability Practices (HAP) and the only NGO in South-East Asia to have received an ACCA reporting ward in 2007. The study is founded on an interpretive position executed through a case study which includes multiple sources of data collection: interviews with staff and volunteers across the organisation regarding their perceptions and experience of accountability and extensive documentary reviews. Our findings highlight the moral foundation underpinning plural rationalities for action taken to discharge social accountability and the importance of distinguishing the act of formal reporting from relief action. Thus, the act of formalising financial accounts is illustrated in the context of a broader framework for social and arguably ‘moral’ accountabilities.