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Microfinance : accountability from the grassroots.

Dixon, R. and Ritchie, J. and Siwale, J. (2006) 'Microfinance : accountability from the grassroots.', Accounting, auditing and accountability journal., 19 (3). pp. 405-427.


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:Article
Keywords:Finance, Non-governmental organizations, Poverty, Zambia.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:May 2006
Date first made open access:No date available

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