Stakeholder salience and accountability mechanisms in not‐for‐profit service delivery organizations

Jinhua Chen, Maria Dyball, Graeme Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Motivated by the importance and distinctiveness of accountability to stakeholders in not-for-profit organizations (NFPs), we examine the use of Ebrahim's accountability mechanisms in a large sample of service delivery NFPs in Australia. Although much prior literature relies on the concept of stakeholder power to explain NFPs’ accountability practices, stakeholder salience (embracing the concepts of stakeholder power, legitimacy, and urgency) emerges as a competing explanation. Utilizing Mitchell et al.’s stakeholder salience framework, we examine the impact of stakeholder power, legitimacy, and urgency on NFPs’ use of accountability mechanisms to account to two key stakeholder groups, government and beneficiaries. Our results show that although legitimacy and urgency of government influence the use of upward accountability mechanisms, beneficiary power influences the use of the downward accountability mechanism of participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-72
Number of pages23
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number1
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • accountability
  • accountability mechanisms
  • leaders
  • not-for-profit
  • stakeholder salience


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