Enacting social accounting within a community enterprise : actualising hermeneutic conversation
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The research was carried out using a participatory action research approach to develop social accounts with Jesmond Swimming Pool (JSP). The original motivation to carry out this project was to see what social accounts would look like and whether it was possible to develop them in this organisation. The experience of doing social accounts is further examined using Gray, et al., (1997) to explore whether these were either ‘ideal’ or ‘good’ social accounts for the organisation. A communitarian philosophical framework is used in order to examine the conceptualisation of ‘good’ social accounts. The first part of the thesis explores the social and environmental accounting (SEA) and accountability literature, with the second part exploring the experience of reaching initial agreement to do social accounts (SAs). The agreement to do the accounts was then followed by two years of social accounts developed with JSP. This empirical data provides a detailed account from the perspectives of insiders and other sources as to the experience of doing social accounts. This experience is then opened up to interrogation from a wider view point. The third part of the thesis examines the experience of JSP using third sector communitarian philosophy and a voluntary accountability framework in order to demonstrate that JSP could provide an example of a ‘good’ or ‘ideal’ social account. This raises the issue of whether or not ‘good’ or ‘ideal’ social accounts for third sector organisations are only possible within a communitarian paradigm. If it is possible to establish what ‘good’ social accounts entail then it may be appropriate to extend this approach to other contexts, for example, the public sector or the corporate world.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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