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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Philip Roundy, Hunter Holzhauer and Ye Dai

The growing prevalence of social entrepreneurship has been coupled with an increasing number of so-called “impact investors”. However, much remains to be learned about…

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1521

Abstract

Purpose

The growing prevalence of social entrepreneurship has been coupled with an increasing number of so-called “impact investors”. However, much remains to be learned about this nascent class of investors. To address the dearth of scholarly attention to impact investing, this study seeks to answer four questions that are central to understanding the phenomenon. What are the defining characteristics of impact investing? Do impact investors differ from traditional classes of investors and, if so, how? What are the motivations that drive impact investment? And, what criteria do impact investors use when evaluating potential investments?

Design/methodology/approach

A partially inductive study based on semi-structured interviews with 31 investors and ethnographic observation was conducted to explore how impact investors differ from other classes of investors in their motivations and unique criteria used to evaluate ventures seeking investment.

Findings

This study reveals that impact investors represent a unique class of investors that differs from socially responsible investing, from other types of for-profit investors, such as venture capitalists and angel investors, and from traditional philanthropists. The varied motivations of impact investors and the criteria they use to evaluate investments are identified.

Originality/value

Despite the growing practitioner and media attention to impact investing, several foundational issues remain unaddressed. This study takes the first steps toward shedding light on this new realm of early-stage venture investing and clarifying its role in larger efforts of social responsibility.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

Andrew Flockhart

To evaluate the potential of social return on investment (SROI) and investment ready tools (IRT) in enabling social enterprises to address the credibility gap associated…

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1977

Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate the potential of social return on investment (SROI) and investment ready tools (IRT) in enabling social enterprises to address the credibility gap associated with their ability to build capacity and to adopt a more commercial/entrepreneurial approach to their activities.

Design/methodology/approach

The differences that exist between social and financial returns in social enterprises are discussed. Reports the results of interviews conducted with key informants from the social investment industry in Scotland and England to explore their personal understanding or experience of SROI, the tools they use at present to assess social enterprise sustainability and capacity for growth and potential for investment, their likes and dislikes of SROI, and how they see SROI moving forward in a Scottish and/or UK context.

Findings

The results indicated that, should social enterprises find a way to overcome the resource implications of implementing SROI, this would enable them to become the preferred investment vehicle for new sources of social finance.

Originality/value

Presents the findings from an MBA dissertation entitled “Is Measuring Social Return on Investment (SROI) a tool that can be used to raise the profile of social enterprises and help attract investment?” (Flockhart 2004) and includes preliminary findings from a pilot programme conducted by CEiS Ltd on the introduction of an Investment Ready Tool (IRT) for social enterprise.

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2007

Neil Rotheroe and Adam Richards

To apply the social return on investment (SROI) concept to a case study based on the Furniture Resource Centre Group (FRC Group), a social enterprise based in Liverpool…

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2717

Abstract

Purpose

To apply the social return on investment (SROI) concept to a case study based on the Furniture Resource Centre Group (FRC Group), a social enterprise based in Liverpool, UK, to satisfy a need for quality affordable furniture for low‐income households.

Design/methodology/approach

The nature of FRC Group’s business is discussed from the viewpoint of how it exemplifies Westall’s (2001) values‐led operation concept with four core values (bravery, creativity, professionalism, passion). Discusses the value of social enterprises and the importance of identifying their social returns as measured by the SROI approach, which was adapted by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) to take account of stakeholder engagement, materiality, impact map, and appreciation of deadweight. Reports on the action research based case study which explored the relationship between the social enterprise business model and the concept of sustainable development.

Findings

The results indicated that the SROI technique demonstrated many qualities of sustainability and, with stakeholder inclusiveness pivotal to the innovative process, it allows for truly connected thinking that reveals advancements in sustainable development.

Originality/value

Provides a stimulus for ongoing research and thought on the dynamic concept of sustainability.

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Erin I-Ping Castellas, Jarrod Ormiston and Suzanne Findlay

This paper aims to explore the emergence and nature of impact investment in Australia and how it is shaping the development of the social enterprise sector.

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2964

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the emergence and nature of impact investment in Australia and how it is shaping the development of the social enterprise sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Impact investment is an emerging approach to financing social enterprises that aims to achieve blended value by delivering both impact and financial returns. In seeking to deliver blended value, impact investment combines potentially conflicted logics from investment, philanthropy and government spending. This paper utilizes institutional theory as a lens to understand the nature of these competing logics in impact investment. The paper adopts a sequential exploratory mixed methods approach to study the emergence of impact investment in Australia. The mixed methods include 18 qualitative interviews with impact investors in the Australian market and a subsequent online questionnaire on characteristics of impact investment products, activity and performance.

Findings

The findings provide empirical evidence of the rapid growth in impact investment in Australia. The analysis reveals the nature of institutional complexity in impact investment and highlights the risk that the impact logic may become overshadowed by the investment logic if the difference in rigor around financial performance measurement and impact performance measurement is maintained. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for the development of the Australian social enterprise sector.

Originality/value

This paper provides empirical evidence on the emergence of impact investment in Australia and contributes to a growing global body of evidence about the nature, size and characteristics of impact investment.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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Article
Publication date: 12 November 2019

Gohar Khan, Manar Mohaisen and Matthias Trier

Leveraging social action theory, social network theory and the notion of network externality, the purpose of this paper is to model two different return on investment

Abstract

Purpose

Leveraging social action theory, social network theory and the notion of network externality, the purpose of this paper is to model two different return on investment (ROI) measures: the networked ROI which captures the network effect originating from a social media investment, and the discrete ROI which focuses social media discrete returns from individual users.

Design/methodology/approach

A field experiment was set up over a period of three months to test the effects of two variants of an advertisement campaign (a social vs a discrete ad) on the modeled networked and discrete ROIs.

Findings

The authors find that emphasizing discrete user actions leads to lower network gains, but higher monetary returns while the social action emphasis produces higher network gains, but lower monetary returns. The study further suggests that social action focus is preferable for brand promotion and engagement, whereas the discrete action focus is suitable for boosting sales and website traffic.

Practical implications

Several potential implications for social media researchers and marketers are also discussed.

Originality/value

The authors for the first time showed that that the social media returns are derived not only from individual actions taken by the user (e.g. likes and shares) but also from users’ social interdependencies and the additional exposure that results from network effects.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Dorota Moroń and Monika Klimowicz

This paper aims to contribute to the on-going debate about the best way to measure the economic effectiveness of public policies, as well to explore the possibility of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to contribute to the on-going debate about the best way to measure the economic effectiveness of public policies, as well to explore the possibility of using the social return on investment (SROI) method as one of the indicators.

Design/methodology/approach

This study combines the SROI method with the case study analysis and comparative study. The paper presents the process of economic evaluation with the use of the SROI methodology and its results, along with methodological and evaluation observations.

Findings

This study confirms some assumptions based both on the subject literature, as well as, on own experience related to the implementation of the evaluation, the author also points out dilemmas related to the use of SROI analysis and the possibility of using it to measure the effectiveness of social innovation projects.

Research limitations/implications

The study contains several practical suggestions on the advantages and disadvantages of the SROI method in the evaluation of particular public policy intervention.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the use of SROI analysis of social innovation projects implemented in the frames of public policies.

Originality/value

The authors’ ambition is to provide practical suggestions on the advantages and disadvantages of the SROI method in the evaluation of particular public policy intervention and to contribute to the discussion about the possible space for comparing the results of economic evaluation based on the SROI method. Furthermore, it is different than most approaches to SROI analysis as the authors combine this method with the case study analysis and comparative study.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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Abstract

Details

Developing Africa’s Financial Services
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-186-5

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2020

Jeremy Andrew Nicholls

The purpose of this paper is to propose a public policy solution to updating mainstream financial accounting from its nineteenth century roots and make it more relevant…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a public policy solution to updating mainstream financial accounting from its nineteenth century roots and make it more relevant and consistent with public policy, individual investor motivations and global needs as exemplified in the sustainability development goals. Many approaches to integrating social and environmental accounts with financial accounts are additive; the two types of accounting information sit alongside each other. The opportunity to revise the basic building block of financial accounting, information to help investors make economic decisions relating to investments to increase integration and recognition that this is a public policy decision and not an accounting profession decision, is rarely considered.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a viewpoint on the opportunities for and benefits of integration of financial, social and environmental accounting.

Findings

The current basis of financial accounting does not reflect private investors’ motivations, and changing the basis of accounting is a public policy issue.

Research limitations/implications

This is a viewpoint paper. The pros and cons of current approaches to valuation of social and environmental outcomes are not explored.

Practical implications

Changing policy would require support from asset managers and owners, accounting bodies, civil society and politicians and would need a plan for transitioning from the existing approach.

Social implications

This is a possible starting point for formal research that could support policy changes that could result in resource allocation decisions taking account of social and environmental impacts.

Originality/value

There are several approaches for integrating social environmental and financial accounting; however, the proposal that integration would result from a change in public policy specifically clarifying and updating investor motivation provides a possible solution to many of the challenges of integration.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Book part
Publication date: 8 October 2019

Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Imran Qureshi and Ishamuddin Mustapha

The emergence of social entrepreneurship, since its nascent stage, brought to light the imminent need to make the social value creating models workable by measuring the…

Abstract

The emergence of social entrepreneurship, since its nascent stage, brought to light the imminent need to make the social value creating models workable by measuring the value created by them. This study reviews the existing literature from the past two decades to establish the role of accounting techniques in the measurement of social value. Nine databases were searched with the word combination “SROI” and “social enterprise” to determine the number of publications related to the field and the trend in its publishing. A classification of themes from selected studies was conducted to establish the direction of research in this context. Social return on investment (SROI) has been tested as a compatible measure and its implementation in various scenarios produced results; however, the inadequacy of its outcomes gives rise to the question whether any measurement tool can be appropriate for social value measurement because there is a need to justify the measurement of social value. The current trends call for further research in the field of customized measurement tools for the measurement of social value.

Details

Societal Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-471-7

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2021

Jelena Titko, Inga Lapina and Oksana Lentjušenkova

Intellectual capital (IC) investments yield both financial and non-financial outcomes, and several groups of stakeholders are beneficiaries in the process. There are…

Abstract

Purpose

Intellectual capital (IC) investments yield both financial and non-financial outcomes, and several groups of stakeholders are beneficiaries in the process. There are different approaches to appraisal of IC investments; most of them emphasise financial benefits. In turn, non-financial return is difficult to measure because of the lack of measurement indicators, as well as unavailability of accounting data and/or statistical data. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate non-financial return on investments in IC, based on the financial data of Latvian higher education institutions (HEI).

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of Social Return on Investments (SROI) was applied. SROI metric is used to measure an expected return, considering the anticipated social benefits of an investment against its costs. The procedure is based on the principles of the “time value of money” concept and stakeholder management theory.

Findings

Non-financial outcomes (benefits) from investments into implementation of e-learning study process were defined, separately for each stakeholder group. Specific metrics for each outcome were determined, and the result was estimated (expressed in monetary form).

Research limitations/implications

There are different types of IC investments, but the authors of the given paper focussed on the digitalisation of study process, i.e. investments into the process of implementation and development of on-line studies were analysed. The proposed approach (SROI) is applied for measuring of IC investments, based on financial data of only one Latvian HEI.

Originality/value

SROI estimation for financial assessment of implemented innovations in Latvian higher education was made. This approach can help organisations to make decisions about IC investments, and the authors’ application of the methodology can be used as a pattern for HEI executives. This paper provides an example of the practical application of the methodology, using HEI real financial data.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

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