Who’s in charge? In whose interest? The experience of ownership and accountability in the charity sector

Authors: Nordberg, D.


Start date: 2 September 2019

In the UK as in other countries, charities are companies, bound by company law as well as regulatory constraints of the non-profit sector. Many are tiny, micro-businesses, but others are sizeable enterprises and several hundred employees and thousands of beneficiaries. All but a few are led by voluntary boards of directors/trustees, and in many of those the trustees are also the “members” of the company, that is, the legal owners of the business, as shareholders are in conventional companies. This paper explores the literature of charity boards and governance and reflects on recent personal experience of boards to develop a research agenda to expand our understanding of the puzzles associated with the question “Who’s in charge?”, as well as to elaborate a typology of interests the governance of the sector serves.

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