Understanding Fraud in The Not-For-Profit Sector: A Stakeholder Perspective for Charities

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The theorisation of fraud has largely been developed in the for-profit sector, and the paper extends this to the not-for-profit sector. Motivated by social control theory, we adopt a qualitative approach to assess the views of key charity stakeholders (social control agents) of charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales about fraud. We find that stakeholders, especially donors and beneficiaries, are often reluctant to label ‘fraud’ as a threat to the sector. This reflects ‘trusting indifference’, a value embedded in the sector that brings more harm than good to the sector in terms of wrongdoing, by hampering effective social control. Adapting existing theories of fraud to charities, we propose a ‘fraud tower’ with three layers: the social layer (trusting indifference), organisational layer (opportunity), and individual layer (fraudsters-opportunity seekers).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages60
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

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