Museum accountability in Britain and America : ethical standards and fiscal transparency in the twenty-first century
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This thesis examines the current state of nonprofit museum accountability in the United Kingdom and United States, assessing methods of achieving fiscal and ethical accountability, as well as the factors that have influenced museum codes and policies to that end. The recent development of museum accountability is couched in corporate culture, government influence, and public expectations, making it an interdisciplinary concern. Yet museum professionalisation, including codes of ethics, conflict of interest management, and agreed-upon standards, has received little attention from researchers. This study engages in empirical research to assess museums’ responses to recent regulations, their execution of governance accountability, and the application of internal controls and fiscal transparency measures. These subjects appraise ethical governance and board member duties, in addition to audit practices and best practice policies. Research reveals inadequacies in the museum accountability systems in both Britain and America. As case studies serve to demonstrate, opportunities remain for financial and ethical misconduct, which can damage the public trust in museums. This thesis is the first broad empirical study to explain museum accountability in Britain or America, collating data across the entire museum sector, creating an industry-wide national framework from the quantitative and qualitative findings. No research has reported on the implementation of best practice measures according to the private, public and third sectors, stakeholders, and by the museum industry itself. Ultimately, this thesis provides unique evidence previously lacking in both the UK and US museum sectors, making it possible to posit and assess specific museums against an accurate national accountability framework.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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