The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and German non-profit organizations : empirical research of organizational compliance
Hasenpflug, Thomas Wilhelm
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Since passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOA) in 2002 there has been significant debate in the US relating to the voluntary or mandatory adherence of non-profit organizations (NPO) to its main provisions. Considering the importance of US corporate governance regulation for the developments in other countries the question about potential compliance of German NPO with such provisions arises. The subject of this research is the identification of an association of organizational characteristics of German non-profit organizations with the existence of Sarbanes-Oxley type corporate governance practices in the organizations. The study included 232 German non-profit organizations. A mixed method research methodology was applied consisting of a mail questionnaire, structured interviews and a document review. NPO decision makers gain from the practical application of the research findings mainly through their application as a benchmarking tool. Organization leaders can compare the readiness of their organization to that of similar entities and assess a necessity for improvement. The research results can also be used when working to further develop NPO corporate governance systems. Use of the research findings for regulators and lawmakers is in assessing the impact of increased corporate governance regulation on certain groups of NPO relating to their already existing readiness. Significant utility of the research results for NPO donors and sponsors was found to apply mainly in specific cases like professional sponsorship relationships. Practical application of the research results was also identified for accountants and consultants providing services to non-profit organizations as well as for sector umbrella organizations.