Title: Explaining governance failure: accountability spaces in-between and bias

Authors: Oliver Marnet

Addresses: Southampton Management School, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK

Abstract: The paper is based on a two-year participant observer study of the governance failures in a UK housing association that experienced significant adverse performance resulting in its near collapse. Concerned with the accountability of boards of directors, the study extends research by Roberts (1991, 1996, 2001) who distinguishes between formal and informal forms of accountability, and Collier (2005) who identifies accountability spaces in-between where governance may be lost. The present research builds on this discussion by introducing socio-psychological factors underlying a reluctance of boards to adequately explore governance issues hidden in these spaces. As informal reporting systems are increasingly important drivers of the control role of boards (Parker, 2008), the paper emphasises the need for boards to adopt procedures aimed at mitigating the effects of bias on the quality of board decision-making.

Keywords: quasi-public sector; governance failure; board accountability; boardroom decision making; bias mitigation; new public management; NPM; UK housing associations; United Kingdom; board of directors; socio-psychological factors; corporate governance; informal reporting; formal reporting.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2014.067237

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2014 Vol.6 No.4, pp.315 - 328

Published online: 14 Feb 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article