Accountability Online: Understanding the Web-Based Accountability Practices of Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 270-295, 2011

44 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2011 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014

See all articles by Gregory D. Saxton

Gregory D. Saxton

Schulich School of Business, York University

Chao Guo

Penn School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: July 23, 2009

Abstract

Nonprofit organizations are increasingly using Internet-based technologies to address accountability. This article presents a set of conceptual, theoretical, and empirical innovations to help understand this phenomenon. First, this article presents a conceptual framework that delineates two key dimensions of Web-based accountability practices: disclosure and dialogue. It then posits a four-factor explanatory model of online accountability incorporating organizational strategy, capacity, governance, and environment. Last, it tests the model through a content analysis of 117 U.S. community foundation Web sites combined with survey and financial data. The descriptive statistics show that the Web site has been more effectively used to provide financial and performance disclosures than to provide dialogic mechanisms for stakeholder input and interactive engagement. Our multivariate analyses, in turn, highlight capacity- and governance-related variables, especially asset size and board performance, as the most significant factors associated with the adoption of Web-based accountability practices.

Keywords: Accountability, new media, Website, nonprofit organizations, community foundations, Internet, financial reporting, voluntary disclosure, organizational communication

JEL Classification: L31, D82, D83, M15, M41, O33

Suggested Citation

Saxton, Gregory D. and Guo, Chao, Accountability Online: Understanding the Web-Based Accountability Practices of Nonprofit Organizations (July 23, 2009). Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 270-295, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1733610

Gregory D. Saxton (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Business, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://social-metrics.org

Chao Guo

Penn School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
United States

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