This study bridged the gap in the literature by exploring the overlaps between public financial accountability and religious sentiments. Previous studies have considered accountability in specific religions and religious organisations through the expositions of their application of accounting concepts and procedures. However, the ways in which religious sentiments affect public accountability are rarely researched. Yet, religion and religious sentiments play central roles in the lived experiences of many people and affect their decisions and perceptions. We used the issuance of Sukuk as a way to understanding how religious sentiments can impact public financial accountability. Our analysis of the online commentaries on the media report of the Sukuk issuance relied on the theory of Symbolic Interactionism and an interpretivist research approach that recognises multiple realities and supports exploring people’s lived experiences. Symbolic Interactionism suggests that people create meanings from their interactions with others through symbols, actions and multiple roles in social settings. Our findings showed that the Sukuk issuance elicited conflicting symbolic meanings amongst Netizens that affected their opinions of governments’ efforts to enhance public infrastructure using alternative financing options. We argued that clarity on the intersection between religious sentiment and public financial accountability can lead to deeper understanding on the nature of public accountability. It could also support the design of appropriate accountability frameworks especially in contexts with social fissures capable of undermining public accountability.
Adelopo, I., Ibrahim, R., & Bello, M. (in press). Financial accountability and religious sentiments: The case of Sukuk Bond. Journal of Business Ethics, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04972-4