The contested nature of third sector organisations

Audrey Paterson, Marc Jegers, Irvine Lapsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the critical themes explored by the five papers in this Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal (AAAJ) special issue and to offer a prospective analysis of issues for further research. Design/methodology/approach: This reflective article provides a contextual outline of the challenges of managing and accounting for the third-sector during times of crisis. Findings: Prior studies have covered aspects of trust, accountability and the use of accounting numbers for performance management in the third sector; however, little is known about how accounting numbers and disclosures can contribute to repairing donor trust and sensemaking following adverse events or how accounting numbers and disclosures can be used to navigate uncertainty. Drawing on accountability, trust and sensemaking literature, the papers in this AAAJ special issue contribute to closing this gap. Research limitations/implications: Whilst the papers presented in this AAAJ special issue provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by third-sector organisations (TSOs) in times of crisis, several vital gaps that merit further investigations have been identified. Originality/value: This paper and AAAJ special issue provide a set of original empirical and theoretical contributions that can be used to advance further investigations into the complex issues faced by the third sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1077
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number4
Early online date27 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • third sector
  • trust
  • accountability
  • co-ordination
  • sensemaking


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