Reforming accountability in international NGOs: making sense of conflicting feedback

Home and field office staff disagreement often impedes international development NGOs (INGOs) from making their accountability systems more responsive to partner and community concerns. Drawing on a staff survey, and qualitative interviews across four country programmes, of a major INGO, three interlocking explanations for this disagreement are suggested: that staff perceive accountability practices differently because they place greater interpretive weight on practices most relevant to their own organisational roles; that divergent views reflect substantively different normative beliefs about accountability; and that differing assessments of accountability practices reflect a strategic misrepresentation of field country experiences as a rational response to power differentials.

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