Dr Gloria Agyemang Royal Holloway School of Management Presentation for Academic Conference Session – NGO Accountability at The GRI Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability &Transparency Thursday 27 May 2010
NGO Accountability and Knowledge Sharing for Sustainability in Less Developed Economies
Research in 2007 /8 on effectiveness of NGO accountability mechanisms in range of NGOs in Ghana
Engagement with NGOs fieldworkers
Perceptions about the effectiveness of
Upward accountability reports to donors and funders
Participatory downward accountability methods used with beneficiaries
Reporting upwards and knowledge sharing
What do the reports contain?
Do upward accountability mechanisms offer opportunity for sharing knowledge?
Sharing knowledge is important
For organisational learning
For sustainable development
What is knowledge sharing?
Guiding someone through your thinking
Using your insights to help another person to see the situation better
Explicit knowledge and Tacit knowledge
Internal and external factors impact on the sharing of knowledge
Upward accountability mechanisms
Do upward accountability mechanism enable knowledge to be shared?
Reports focus on
Fieldworkers synthesis of knowledge
“ standardised common understanding”
Formality of reports enabled knowledge sharing
Operational knowledge was shared
Sharing knowledge about performance
Accountability mechanisms for performance evaluation not enabling
Context is important
Insufficient capture about context
Sense making and interpretation important to understanding
Examples of non-knowledge sharing
Where is appropriate location of projects
Appropriateness of technology
Issues about education and training of beneficiaries
Timing of projects
Why projects fail
Drivers of sustainable development
Intangible success factors
Why is situational knowledge not shared by NGO fieldworkers?
Fear of loss of funding
Importance of fieldworker work being recognised as valuable
Perceptions about lack of donor interest
Not sure what follow on actions ensued
Quantitative information preferred
Lack of skills on part of fieldworkers
Might need training
The nature of the accountability mechanisms
Standard templates lead to
And not to
To facilitate knowledge sharing that enables sustainable development it is necessary to reconsider the “how” question with respect to accountability.
How will information be used?
How is information gathered?
How will feedback be provided to fieldworkers to show that their work has had an impact?