The role, status and accountability of UK service clubs
: an exploratory study

  • David Yates

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores notions of accountability in a unique organisational context, that of the service club. It aims to examine accountabilities encountered within the operation of service clubs, as organisations with multiple functions within civil society. This occupation of multiple roles is creates a number of issues when considered in the context of accountability, both internally within the service club/organisation, and externally to stakeholders such as donors and beneficiaries.
Through utilisation of existing theorisations of accountability, this research provides insight as to the nature of accountability present within service clubs and the influences behind the form said accountabilities take. The historical perspective of service clubs, grounded in fraternity, can be seen to influence the nature of accountability practised by service clubs. Challenges encountered by service clubs are explored, such as discriminatory practices, organisational inertia and declining membership. Internal accountability between organisational levels is seen to be strained, along with external accountabilities, which were largely rendered through more informal means. External opinion of service clubs was often influenced by such accounts rendered informally, with different accounts constructed via different stakeholders, with both positive and negative accounts being disclosed.
The research conducted in this thesis carries implications for charitable organisations, and other civil society organisations. The primary theoretical contribution from this thesis highlights the inseparable nature of narcissistic forms of accountability, and that motivated by genuine ethical action. This finding is significant, particularly with increasing calls for transparency in terms of the operation of charitable organisations. Practically, this thesis makes contributions in by providing insight into internal accountability organisations, and also with regards to the external image projected via accounts rendered through operation. Further research opportunities are identified with regards to reconciliation of the accountable self and organisational accountability, and also within the realms of accountability related to the charitable actor.
Date of Award13 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAtaur R Belal (Supervisor), Alan D Lowe (Supervisor) & Florian Gebreiter (Supervisor)


  • service club
  • accountability
  • United Kingdom
  • charity
  • non-governmental organisation

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