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Title: Measuring social impact : the conceptual and empirical advancement of an emergent concept
Author: Krlev, Gorgi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 1400
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis develops a theoretical foundation for measuring social impact. It focuses on 'social purpose organisations', for example non-profit organisations. Its original contribution lies in the conceptual proposition of measuring social impact through assessing how an organisation enhances social productivity by creating capitals, for instance social, cultural or political capital. It proposes measuring capitals as an alternative to currently prevalent metrics surrounding: (1) costs and benefits; (2) life-satisfaction; (3) capabilities. The research tests the 'capital based approach' in three empirical cases located in Germany. The studies consider multiple capitals, but focus on the main one for each intervention: (1) social capital in community oriented housing for elderly people; (2) cultural capital in a school-based intervention on pro-sociality; (3) political capital related to an online platform for citizens and politicians. The conceptual proposition combined with this 'multi-site multi capitals' setup generates knowledge on social impact in four different ways. First, by tapping into established capitals measures across the social sciences the research mitigates the measurement problem-the challenge of translating social impact into measurable components. Second, by using capitals as a set of interconnected measures, which are furthermore at close proximity to organisational activities, it helps address the attribution problem-the difficulty of establishing causal links between an intervention and its effects. Third, by turning to capitals it highlights intermediate outcomes and processes in the creation of social impact and thereby deals with the aggregation problem-a loss of information when focussing only on final social outcomes. Fourth, by seizing on the position of capitals which are located in between individuals and the community, it responds to the foundation problem-the potential discrepancy between group level welfare and individual utilities or capacities. The research tackles the most pressing challenges in social impact measurement and thus significantly advances its theory and practice.
Supervisor: Nicholls, Alex ; Michie, Jonathan Sponsor: Stiftung Liebenau ; Bremer Heimstiftung
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available