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Nonprofit Accountability: An Institutional and Resource Dependence Lens on Conformance and Resistance

Watt Geer, Bobbi (2009) Nonprofit Accountability: An Institutional and Resource Dependence Lens on Conformance and Resistance. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This research examines to what extent and why nonprofit accountability mechanisms are adopted in human service organizations located in southwestern Pennsylvania. Its focus is twofold: 1) to assess the extent to which nonprofit leaders are familiar with and use the nonprofit accountability mechanisms that have been proposed in the literature and through nonprofit sector leadership organizations—to assess nonprofits' "accountability competency" and 2) to explore the motivations or incentives for instituting or resisting the practices. One hundred and fifty-six nonprofit human service executives in southwestern Pennsylvania participated in a mailed survey, and 20 of those respondents agreed to a follow-up personal interview. Results indicate that local nonprofits are more likely to adopt legal and financial accountability mechanisms, such as filing the IRS Form 990 and having a board approved operating budget, and less likely to adopt normative best practices, such as program evaluation, ethics codes and executive compensation policies. Further, study results examined through a dual lens of institutional and resource dependence theories, support the hypotheses that organizations are more motivated to adopt accountability mechanisms with greater degrees of organizational interconnectedness, external dependence on pressuring constituents, social legitimacy achieved, economic gain and legal coercion.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Watt Geer,
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKearns, Kevinkkearns@pitt.eduKKEARNS
Committee MemberMaher, Jill
Committee MemberCamillus, Johncamillus@katz.pitt.eduCAMILLUS
Committee MemberComfort, Louisecomfort@gspia.pitt.eduLKC
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@pitt.eduPJNELSON
Date: 25 November 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 30 September 2009
Approval Date: 25 November 2009
Submission Date: 28 October 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nonprofit Accountability and Organizational Impact; Nonprofit Accountability Networks; Nonprofit Learning about Accountability; Nonprofit Management
Other ID:, etd-10282009-203453
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:03
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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