Social Impact Measurement and Non-profit Organisations: Compliance, Resistance, and Promotion

Original Paper

Abstract

Non-profit organisations are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their social impact. This paper examines the experience and behaviour of non-profit organisations in the UK in relation to a demand for social impact evaluations. External resource providers request organisations to present evidence on how resources are used and what organisations have achieved. While most organisations are willing to comply and accept this control, they can also resist through using their discretion in deciding what to measure, how to measure and what to report. Non-profit organisations can proactively and voluntarily use social impact measurement for learning and promotional purposes, and as a way of exerting control over their environment. The analysis develops the concept of strategic decoupling to explain the differences observed between what organisations are asked to do, what they plan to do and what they are doing in practice.

Keywords

Evaluation Social impact Decoupling Resistance 

Résumé

On attend de plus en plus souvent des organisations à but non lucratif qu’elles démontrent leur impact social. Cet article examine l’expérience et l’attitude d’organisations à but non lucratif au Royaume Uni vis-à-vis de cette exigence d’auto-évaluation. Les fournisseurs de ressources externes demandent des organisations qu’elles apportent des preuves de la façon dont elles utilisent les ressources et des objectifs qu’elles atteignent. Même si la plupart des organisations sont prêtes à se conformer à ces exigences et à accepter ce contrôle, elles peuvent aussi résister par le choix de ce qu’elles mesurent, comment elles le mesurent, et ce qu’elles incluent ou non dans leurs rapports. Les organisations à but non lucratif peuvent activement et délibérément utiliser l’évaluation de leur impact social pour apprendre ou pour promouvoir leur action et comme un moyen de maîtrise de leur environnement. L’analyse développe le concept de découplage stratégique pour expliquer les différences constatées entre ce qu’on attend des organisations, ce qu’elles projettent de faire et ce qu’elles font en pratique.

Zusammenfassung

Nonprofit-Organisationen stehen unter zunehmenden Druck, ihren sozialen Einfluss zu demonstrieren. Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Erfahrungen und Verhaltensweisen von Nonprofit-Organisationen in Großbritannien in Bezug auf eine Nachfrage nach einer Beurteilung sozialer Auswirkungen. Externe Ressourcenanbieter fordern von den Organisationen, Nachweise darüber zu erbringen, wie die Ressourcen verwendet werden und was die Organisationen geleistet haben. Zwar sind die meisten Organisationen bereit, dieser Forderung nachzukommen, und sie akzeptieren diese Art von Kontrolle; doch können sie auch Widerstand leisten, indem sie nach eigenem Ermessen entscheiden, welche Aspekte sie erfassen, wie sie sie erfassen und worüber sie Bericht erstatten. Nonprofit-Organisationen können die Messung des sozialen Einflusses auf eigene Initiative und freiwillig zu Lern- und Werbezwecken nutzen sowie zur Ausübung von Kontrolle auf ihren Wirkungskreis einsetzen. Die Untersuchung entwickelt das Konzept der strategischen Entkopplung, um die beobachteten Unterschiede zwischen den Anforderungen an die Organisationen, ihren Plänen und dem, was sie tatsächlich in der Praxis tun, zu erläutern.

Resumen

Las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro sufren la creciente presión de demostrar su impacto social. El presente documento examina la experiencia y el comportamiento de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro en el Reino Unido en relación con la exigencia de evaluaciones de su impacto social. Los proveedores de recursos externos solicitan a las organizaciones que presenten pruebas de cómo se utilizan los recursos y qué han logrado las organizaciones. Aunque la mayor parte de las organizaciones están dispuestas a cumplir y aceptar este control, también pueden resistirse utilizando su criterio para decidir qué medir, cómo medir y de qué informar. Las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro pueden utilizar proactiva y voluntariamente la medición del impacto social con fines de aprendizaje y promocionales, y como forma de ejercer control sobre su entorno. El análisis desarrolla el concepto de separación estratégica para explicar las diferencias observadas entre lo que se pide a las organizaciones que hagan, lo que ellas planean hacer y lo que están haciendo en la práctica.

摘要

非营利组织在展示其社会影响方面正面临越来越大的压力。本论文检查了英国的非营利组织在涉及社会影响评估需求方面的经验和行为。外部资源提供商要求组织展示如何使用资源和组织已经实现目标的证据。尽管大部分组织都愿意遵照并接受本控制,但是他们仍可坚持自行判断决定测量的内容、测量的方式以及报告的内容。非营利组织可以主动、自愿地将社会影响测量用于学习和推广目的,同时作为影响环境的方式。本分析开发了战略脱钩概念,以解释要求组织做什么、他们计划做什么以及他们实际做了什么之间观察到的差别。

要約

非営利団体は社会的な影響を与えるようにますます圧力をかけられている。本論文では、社会的な影響評価への要求と関連してイギリスでの非営利団体の経験と実施を調査する。 外部の資源提供者は、どのように資金が使われているか、団体が何を実現したかを証明するように団体に要求する。ほとんどの団体がこの規制に対して受け入れる一方、何をどのように測定するか、そして何を報告するかを決定する際に、決定権を持って反論することができる。非営利団体は、環境管理を及ぼす方法として自発的かつ積極的に学習と宣伝の目的のために社会的な衝撃測定を用いることができる。分析では、どの団体が依頼されて、何が計画されて、何を実施するかを観察して、相違を説明する戦略的な分離の概念を進展させる。

ملخص

المنظمات الغير ربحية تتعرض لضغوط متزايدة لإثبات أثرها الاجتماعي. يفحص هذا البحث خبرة وسلوك المنظمات الغير ربحية في المملكة المتحدة بالنسبة إلى الطلب على تقييمات الأثر الاجتماعي. مقدمي الموارد الخارجية يطلبون من المنظمات أن يعرضوا أدلة على الكيفية التي تستخدم بها الموارد و ما حققته المنظمات. في حين أن معظم المنظمات على إستعداد للإمتثال و قبول هذه السيطرة، فإنه يمكنهم أن يقاوموا أيضا˝ من خلال إستخدام حريتهم في التصرف في التوصل إلى قرار فيما يجب قياسه، وكيفية القياس وماذا يقدم تقريرعنه. يمكن للمنظمات الغير الربحية أن تستخدم مسبقا˝ وطواعية قياس الأثر الإجتماعي للتعلم وأغراض ترويجية، وكوسيلة لممارسة السيطرة على بيئتهم وتحليل تطور مفهوم لفك الإرتباط الإستراتيجي لشرح الفروق الملحوظة بين ما يطلب من المنظمات القيام به، ما هم يخططون للقيام به وماذا يفعلون في الواقع العملي.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Third Sector Research Centre, School of Social SciencesUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development ResearchMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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