ActionAid International: Globalizing Governance, Localizing Accountability

Posted: 18 Feb 2012

See all articles by Alnoor S. Ebrahim

Alnoor S. Ebrahim

Tufts University

Rachel Gordon

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: February 24, 2011


As a global NGO working in 45 countries, ActionAid International aims to eradicate poverty by addressing its underlying causes such as injustice and inequality. This case follows a series of radical transformations implemented by the organization's CEO, Ramesh Singh -- a power shift from its headquarters in London to an international secretariat in Johannesburg; a new federated governance structure that increases the influence of units in Africa and Asia; and, innovations in accountability and transparency to the poor communities with which it works. But as Singh gets ready to step down after seven years, he is confronted with challenges from newly empowered country units that he feels risk taking the organization in the wrong direction. How will the divisions between the Northern and Southern units play out? Will they tear the organization apart, just when it is becoming a global player?

Learning Objective: To examine the relationship between governance and accountability in a global organization; to explore processes of leading and implementing transformational change in global organizations.

Suggested Citation

Ebrahim, Alnoor S. and Gordon, Rachel, ActionAid International: Globalizing Governance, Localizing Accountability (February 24, 2011). Harvard Business School General Management Unit Case No. 311-004, Available at SSRN:

Alnoor S. Ebrahim (Contact Author)

Tufts University ( email )

160 Packard Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
United States

Rachel Gordon

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics