An exploration of the accountability practices of Muslim charity organisations in the UK : a legitimacy perspective

Yasmin, Sofia

April 2014

Thesis or dissertation

© 2014 Sofia Yasmin. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis presents an exploratory analysis into the communicated and lived accountability practices of Muslim charity organisations in the UK, utilising Suchman’s perspective on legitimacy and the Islamic theoretical framework.

Communicated accountability was explored by examining the extent to which Muslim charity organisation’s [MCO’s] trustee annual reports [TARs] comply with the narrative elements of the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) 2005 through a comparative analysis with the TARs of Christian charity organisations [CCO]. 123 CCO TARs and 238 MCO TARs were analysed. This part of the research sought to understand how MCOs managed their pragmatic legitimacy. Findings from this stage of the study suggest CCOs and larger charities of both groups of RCOs provide more disclosure and better quality TARS, RCOs do not disclose the whole range of accountability as required by the SORP framework, none of the MCOs provided any disclosure in relation to how their zakah or waqf funds have been distributed and there was evidence of complacency by external examiners and account preparers.

Lived accountability was explored using a qualitative approach. Interviews with 18 trustees, senior executive, management and charity personnel of the eight largest MCOs in the UK were undertaken. This stage of the research sought to understand how MCOs enacted accountability to achieve moral and cognitive legitimacy. It was found that functional accountability of MCOs and the subsequent moral legitimacy was linked to two core areas of accounting and auditing, and governance and oversight. A number of aspects were identified which either drove or impeded accountability in MCOs. Islamic religious values were found to be important aspects helping MCO members navigate cognitive legitimacy.

This study provides a unique lens through which the theoretical analysis of accountability within religious organisations and charity organisations can be extended.

Business School, The University of Hull
Haniffa, Ros
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University of Hull
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