Trust, accountability and ‘the Other’ within the charitable context: UK service clubs and grant-making activity

David Yates*, Ataur Belal, Florian Gebreiter, Alan D Lowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The third sector encompasses many types of not‐for‐profit organisations (NPOs). This results in a diverse sector, where accountabilities vary and are complex. In this paper, we explore notions of accountability at the micro level of social analysis, between individuals, and enacted through social interaction. We aim to provide detail on how accountability is enacted at this level of analysis, and the role(s) of trust (if any) in this form of accountability. We employ a theoretical framework incorporating the theoretical constructs of accountability, trust and ‘the Other’, with additional support derived from literature that specifically discusses the relationship(s) between accountability, the Other and wider ethics. We employ a qualitative methodological framework, with two sources of data. The primary source of data included 42 semi‐structured interviews conducted with service club members, along with representatives of donor organisations, beneficiary organisations and local government. In addition, documentary evidence was utilised in support of the primary data gathered. Following the application of qualitative data analysis techniques, we conclude that, at the micro level of social analysis, trust and accountability are intertwined concepts. We observed that the main mechanism for the discharge of accountability was via the formation and maintenance of personal relationships between members of the service club and key external stakeholders. We also conclude that charity offers individuals a means by which to particularise aspects of the Other, through the undertaking of charitable action. Within this particularisation process, facilitated by connecting with other individuals, accountability not only takes a different form than more hierarchical forms of accountability, but also serves to build interconnectedness between individuals, and provide satisfaction of the desire for the Other in volunteers and stakeholders alike.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Dec 2020


  • accountability
  • service clubs
  • the Other
  • trust
  • U.K.


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