To read this content please select one of the options below:

Social value analysis: the case of Pompeu Fabra University

Silvia Ayuso (ESCI-UPF School of International Studies, Barcelona, Spain)
Pablo Sánchez (Roots for Sustainability, Barcelona, Spain)
José Luis Retolaza (Deusto Business School, Bilbao, Spain)
Mònica Figueras-Maz (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 13 January 2020

Issue publication date: 6 January 2020




This paper aims to explore how to quantify the social value generated by higher education from a social accounting perspective. The proposed approach is integrated social value (ISV) analysis, a social accounting model that considers both the economic value and the social value created by an organisation for its stakeholders.


The ISV analysis has been applied to Pompeu Fabra University, following a participatory action research process with representatives of the university and its stakeholders.


The final ISV includes not only the social value created through the university’s economic activity – captured by economic and financial accounting indicators – but also the specific social value created for the different stakeholders by means of non-market relationships, which were monetised through the use of indicators and financial proxies.

Research limitations/implications

Like other social accounting methodologies, ISV analysis suffers from some limitations regarding data availability and economic pricing, that partly will be resolved with maturation of the methodology and increasing standardisation.

Practical implications

By using appropriate proxies, the non-market value of the university can be monetised and integrated with university’s market value. The social value results become a valuable tool for developing useful indicators for internal management and external communication.

Social implications

The process of measuring the social value created by universities provides a way to meet the rising demands for greater accountability and transparency and facilitates engagement with stakeholders on how these institutions are contributing to a sustainable society.


ISV is a recently proposed social accounting model that combines an organisation’s economic and social results into a single concept of value creation and thus contributes to advance the field of social accounting.



Funding: MANGO Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility of ESCI-UPF and Social Council of Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).


Ayuso, S., Sánchez, P., Retolaza, J.L. and Figueras-Maz, M. (2020), "Social value analysis: the case of Pompeu Fabra University", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 233-252.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles