PURPOSE : Despite indications of scholarly interest, there are still gaps in the research of the concept of felt accountability, especially the felt accountability of board members. This paper aims to clarify the sources of accountability experienced by board members. Especially those in a non-executive capacity. How these sources can be accessed to enhance felt accountability and thereby governance effectiveness is explored.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : Qualitative, exploratory research methods were used. In total, 15 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were completed with non-executive board members of Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed companies in South Africa. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse data.
FINDINGS : The findings clarified the formal and informal sources of accountability experienced by non-executive board members. This included relational and structural mechanisms that can be used within corporate governance to enhance both types of accountability. Accessing the identified sources of accountability through appropriate mechanisms could increase the levels of felt accountability experienced by the individual non-executive board member, thereby strengthening accountability inside the boardroom and improving overall board effectiveness. The study also revealed a layer of implicit and explicit accountability.
RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS : The study was conducted solely in South Africa, with non-executive board members of Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed companies.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE : There is limited research that clarifies the sources of accountability experienced by non-executive board members. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by providing techniques on how to enable the clarified sources of accountability to improve governance effectiveness.