Evaluation of social impact measurement tools and techniques: a systematic review of the literature

Kah, Sally and Akenroye, Temi (2020) Evaluation of social impact measurement tools and techniques: a systematic review of the literature. Social Enterprise Journal, 16 (4). pp. 381-402. ISSN 1750-8614

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Abstract

Purpose: Despite the availability of metrics for measuring social impact, it can be difficult for organisations to select tools that fit their precise needs. To address this challenge, this study conducts a systematic literature review using legitimacy theory as a point of departure. It examines tools that capture three dimensions of sustainability – social, economic and environmental – and firm size.

Design: We searched the top four journal databases in the social sciences from the FT50 review to identify articles published in peer-reviewed journals in the 2009–2019 period, using keywords to conceptualise the construct. For comprehensive assessment, we adopted a method that requires the logic synthesis of concepts and evidence emerging from the literature to address the research aim.

Findings: The results show that most of the articles developed tools or frameworks to measure social impact based on the triple bottom line of sustainability – social, economic and environmental – and firm size. However, there is insufficient evidence of their integration into practice.

Research implications: This work contributes to the legitimisation of social enterprises using validated tools and frameworks to develop practical suggestions for social impact measurement.

Originality: Since legitimacy is an important rationale for social impact measurement, this study adds value through the development of a suitability framework. The framework enables social enterprises to identify the most appropriate tool for their purpose and size to establish legitimacy through impact measurement and reporting.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/SEJ-05-2020-0027
Date: 15 October 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: social value, social impact, social enterprise, social impact measurement
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School > Department of Strategy, Management and Marketing
Depositing User: Sally Kah
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 09:52
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2020 09:58
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10232

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