In the spotlight: Rethinking NGO accountability in the #MeToo era

Galina Goncharenko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emphasising the need to rethink accountability in the light of the #MeToo movement, this study examines how public discourses on sexual misconduct in the non-profit sector have transformed societal perceptions of NGO accountability. The study contributes to research debates about the underlying principles of the NGO social contract, the intellectual problematics of accountability and the role of ‘the Other’ in accountability conduct. The analysis of social media and investigations related to sexual scandals in thirteen organisations reveals how access to social media and hashtag activism in the midst of the social movement provided visibility to the cases of misconduct, gave rise to accountability forums and empowered calls to hold organisations to account. The study shows how the spotlight of public attention has gradually shifted the perception of sexual misconduct as an occasional, but inevitable, sectoral malfunction towards a widening debate over the moral basis of NGO activism and the impacts on the lives of vulnerable NGO beneficiaries. This development has then amplified the escalated demand to transform approaches to NGO accountability from pragmatic procedures of increased control and demonstrable measures of quality assurance to more reflective methods of intellectual accountability and critical self-assessment, emphasising the behavioural consciousness of accountable actors. Finally, the study reflects on how the lessons learned from the #MeToo movement impact NGOs in their capacity to exercise holistic accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102308
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date27 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Accountability
  • NGOs
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Social media
  • The #MeToo movement


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