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An exploration of governance and accountability issues within mutual organisations: The case of UK Building Societies

Ooi, Sue Chern (2017) An exploration of governance and accountability issues within mutual organisations: The case of UK Building Societies. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This study examines the governance and accountability practices and reforms in UK building societies following the 2008 financial crisis. Theoretically, this study explores the notion of mutual accountability and governance systems in delineating the (re)structuring of UK building societies’ governance and accountability practices, in response to the crisis. Data for the study are derived from thirty-eight in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in building societies, including executives, non-executives, ex-directors, an auditor, a regulator and customers, as well as publicly available documents and non-participant observation of a number of members’ meetings. The findings of the study demonstrate that the industry’s internal, intermediate and external governance structures have significantly altered in the post-crisis era with a positive impact on the mutual accountability. Coercive pressure from regulators has led to improvements on building societies’ internal governance structures, including but not limited to board composition, internal control and risk management frameworks. Intermediate governance structure, unique to mutual organisations, is embedded within UK building societies as the fundamental mechanism in achieving democracy and mutual accountability. However, the political and economic uncertainty and regulatory reforms in the financial services sector have continued to pose challenges in the governance and long-term performance of regional building societies. Intensifying regulations have increased the costs and workload for building societies and led many of these societies to emphasize the “form” rather than true “substance” of good governance practices. There is the need for regulators and policy makers to realise the difference among building societies and to develop appropriate codes of governance and regulations which are not one-size-fits-all.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability, Governance, Mutual Organisation, Building Societies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Sue Ooi
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 14:36
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2018 01:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20512

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