Measurement as legitimacy versus legitimacy of measures : Performance evaluation of social enterprise
Luke, Belinda G., Barraket, Jo, & Eversole, Robyn (2013) Measurement as legitimacy versus legitimacy of measures : Performance evaluation of social enterprise. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 10(3/4), pp. 234-258.
The purpose of this paper is to review the growing emphasis on quantifiable performance measures such as social return on investment (SROI) in third sector organisations – specifically, social enterprise – through a legitimacy theory lens. It then examines what social enterprises value (i.e. consider important) in terms of performance evaluation, using a case study approach.
Case studies involving interviews, documentary analysis, and observation, of three social enterprises at different life-cycle stages with different funding structures, were constructed to consider “what measures matter” from a practitioner's perspective.
Findings highlight a priority on quality outcomes and impacts in primarily qualitative terms to evaluate performance. Further, there is a noticeable lack of emphasis on financial measures other than basic access to financial resources to continue pursuing social goals.
The practical challenges faced by social enterprises – many of which are small to medium sized – in evaluating performance and by implication organisational legitimacy are contrasted with measures such as SROI which are resource intensive and have inherent methodological limitations. Hence, findings suggest the limited and valuable resources of social enterprises would be better allocated towards documenting the actual outcomes and impacts as a first step, in order to evaluate social and financial performance in terms appropriate to each objective, in order to demonstrate organisational legitimacy.
Findings distinguish between processes which may hold symbolic legitimacy for select stakeholder groups, and processes which hold substantive, cognitive legitimacy for stakeholders more broadly, in the under-researched context of social enterprise.
Impact and interest:
Citation counts are sourced monthly from and citation databases.
These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.
Citations counts from theindexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.
Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||Performance measures , Legitimacy, Social enterprise, Evaluation , Third sector, SROI|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000)|
|Divisions:||Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Accountancy
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Deposited On:||12 Nov 2013 04:02|
|Last Modified:||26 Jun 2014 06:43|
Repository Staff Only: item control page