Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Published In

Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Engaged Management Scholarship


Accountability, Governance, Relational practices, Community of Practice


The nonprofit sector is challenged by increasing public and stakeholder demands for a Broadened Accountability (BA). Strong expectations for performance accountability now accompany those for fiscal accountability. In response, better concepts of nonprofit accountability and associated practices to achieve it are being developed in the literature. However, knowledge of obstacles to achieving Broadened Accountability and possible paths towards overcoming them has lagged. This paper attempts to stimulate research and contribute to such knowledge by 1) elaborating on the assertion that a central difficulty is found in a pair of perceived governance dilemmas that can drive leaders into either/or choices between the two forms of accountability; 2) exploring the role that a Community of Practice (COP) can play in avoiding governance dilemmas; and 3) developing grounded concepts around how relational practices such as blended strategizing, facework, reflexive monitoring and skillful organizing contribute to the formation of a COP. The study’s ethnographic methods recorded and analyzed real-life interactions involving a board chair-chief executive officer pair. The paper presents detailed narrative description of these actions to convey its key contribution – a process model for overcoming obstacles to achieving BA – and to provide stimulus for new practice by leaders in governance situations.




This submission was selected as a Best Paper finalist by members of the Proceedings editorial committee with contributions and insight provided through a double-blind review process.