Counting social change: outcome measures for social enterprise

Counting social change: outcome measures for social enterprise Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify important elements of the evaluation and definition of success in social entrepreneurship. It considers previous approaches and the lessons that can be learned from other fields of organizational studies. Design/methodology/approach – The method used is based upon an objective and subjective, social constructionist view of organizational success. The paper reviews the fields of strategy, organization theory, entrepreneurship and innovation to identify relevant frameworks, measures, definitions of success, and the implications of the choice of success measures on our understanding of various phenomena. Findings – From this perspective, it becomes apparent that how success and failure are defined is based on assumptions about the value of social enterprise and the nature of social change. In order to develop a deeper understanding of the drivers of social enterprise, there must be experimentation with a rich complement of success measures that are not limited to the triple bottom line. Practical implications – The paper is of use to social enterprise researchers, practitioners and consultants who are defining what it means for a social enterprise to be successful. The insights should allow for a more conscious evaluation of a range of potential success measures and the impacts they have on our social outcomes. Originality/value – Although measuring social enterprise success is recognized to be an important topic, most work in the field implicitly or explicitly identifies success based on a goal‐centred evaluation of the triple bottom line. The paper challenges this thinking to include subjectivity, causation, contestation, organizational form and the multiple polar dimensions that must be balanced by every organization. It draws on research from related fields that have already struggled with these issues and can offer valuable lessons for social enterprise. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Enterprise Journal Emerald Publishing

Counting social change: outcome measures for social enterprise

Social Enterprise Journal, Volume 7 (2): 10 – Aug 16, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1750-8614
DOI
10.1108/17508611111156628
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify important elements of the evaluation and definition of success in social entrepreneurship. It considers previous approaches and the lessons that can be learned from other fields of organizational studies. Design/methodology/approach – The method used is based upon an objective and subjective, social constructionist view of organizational success. The paper reviews the fields of strategy, organization theory, entrepreneurship and innovation to identify relevant frameworks, measures, definitions of success, and the implications of the choice of success measures on our understanding of various phenomena. Findings – From this perspective, it becomes apparent that how success and failure are defined is based on assumptions about the value of social enterprise and the nature of social change. In order to develop a deeper understanding of the drivers of social enterprise, there must be experimentation with a rich complement of success measures that are not limited to the triple bottom line. Practical implications – The paper is of use to social enterprise researchers, practitioners and consultants who are defining what it means for a social enterprise to be successful. The insights should allow for a more conscious evaluation of a range of potential success measures and the impacts they have on our social outcomes. Originality/value – Although measuring social enterprise success is recognized to be an important topic, most work in the field implicitly or explicitly identifies success based on a goal‐centred evaluation of the triple bottom line. The paper challenges this thinking to include subjectivity, causation, contestation, organizational form and the multiple polar dimensions that must be balanced by every organization. It draws on research from related fields that have already struggled with these issues and can offer valuable lessons for social enterprise.

Journal

Social Enterprise JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 16, 2011

Keywords: Performance metrics; Social change; Subjective; Objective; Organizational theory

References

  • Technological acquisitions and the innovation performance of acquiring firms: a longitudinal study
    Ahuja, G.; Katila, R.
  • PDMA success measurement project: recommended measures for product development success and failure
    Griffin, A.; Page, A.L.
  • Entrepreneurship in and around institutional voids: a case study from Bangladesh
    Mair, J.; Marti, I.
  • Organizational Behavior
    Miles, R.H.
  • Social entrepreneurship: a critical review of the concept
    Peredo, A.M.; McLean, M.
  • Gauging the success of social ventures initiated by individual social entrepreneurs
    Sharir, M.; Lerner, M.
  • Benefiting from network position: firm capabilities, structural holes, and performance
    Zaheer, A.; Bell, G.G.

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