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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Risk and Resilience in Scottish Charities
Author(s): McDonnell, Diarmuid
Supervisor(s): Rutherford, Alasdair
Simmons, Richard
Birchall, Johnston
Keywords: charity risk
charity regulation
charity accountability
nonprofit risk
financial vulnerability
Issue Date: Jun-2017
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: McDonnell, D. (2017). Improving Charity Accountability: Lessons From the Scottish Experience. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 46(4), 725-746.
McDonnell, D., & Rutherford, A. C. (2017). The Determinants of Charity Misconduct. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0899764017728367.
Abstract: Concerns have long been raised about the conduct and accountability of charitable organisations, particularly the adequacy of reporting and oversight mechanisms. Consequently, charities and the institutions that monitor the sector are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their legitimacy. This thesis focuses on the ways in which risk is operationalised by the Scottish Charity Regulator and experienced by charities. In particular, it examines the nature, extent, determinants and outcomes of four types of risk: complaints concerning charity conduct, regulatory action in response to a complaint, financial vulnerability, and triggering accountability concerns. The thesis begins with a detailed review of the overlapping literatures of risk, regulation and charity theory, and the development of a contextual framework for guiding the empirical work. The thesis draws on contemporary large-scale administrative social science data derived from the regulator, supported by modest use of primary social survey and qualitative data. Findings from the four empirical chapters provide evidence that the risks explored in this research are uncommon for individual charities but are a persistent feature of the sector as a whole, and vary in predictable ways across certain organisational characteristics. The results also reveal the concern of charities with financial risks, their willingness to demonstrate transparency regarding their actions (particularly in response to complaints), and the perceived lack of regulatory burden. The thesis makes an original contribution in the form of new empirical knowledge about the charity sector, in particular through the use of large-scale administrative social science data to ‘peer under the hood’ and shine a light on aspects of charity behaviour that are often overlooked. The thesis concludes with a reflection on the key findings and comments on potential areas for future research.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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