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

Kah, S and Akenroye, TO (2020) Evaluation of social impact measurement tools and techniques: A systematic review of the literature. Social Enterprise Journal. ISSN 1750-8533

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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. 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 a comprehensive assessment, we adopted a method that requires the logic synthesis of concepts and evidence emerging from the literature to address the research aim. 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. 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
Additional Information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1402 Applied Economics, 1503 Business and Management, 1699 Other Studies in Human Society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Business & Management (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Emerald
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 10:21
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 06:50
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13476
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