Social impact measurement in social housing: a theory-based investigation into the context, mechanisms and outcomes of implementation

Jones, A. and Valero-Silva, N. ORCID: 0000-0002-4660-696X, 2021. Social impact measurement in social housing: a theory-based investigation into the context, mechanisms and outcomes of implementation. Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management, 18 (3), pp. 361-389. ISSN 1176-6093

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Purpose: English social housing providers are increasingly turning to social impact measurement to assess their social value. This paper aims to understand the contextual factors causing this rise in the practice, specifically within this sector; the mechanisms that enable it to be effectively implemented within an individual organisation, and the outcomes of successful implementation for individual organisations and more widely across the sector and beyond.

Findings: Social housing providers use social impact measurement both internally, to determine their organisational priorities, and externally, to demonstrate their value to local and national governments and cross-sector partners then to shape and influence resource allocation. The practice itself is shown to be an open and active programme, rather than a fixed calculative practice.

Research limitations/implications: The intensive nature of the research means that only a limited number of cases were explored. Further research could test theories developed here against evidence collected from a wider range of cases, e.g., other types of providers, or non-adopters.

Practical implications: The research makes a strong contribution to practice in the form of a re-conceptualisation of how social impact measurement can be shown to be effective, based on deeper understanding of causal mechanisms, how they interact, and the outcomes that result. This is of value to the sector as such information could help other organisations both to understand the value of social impact measurement and to provide practical guidance on how to implement it effectively.

Originality/value: Existing literature is largely limited to technical guides. This paper links theory-based evaluation to practice, contributing to social housing practice.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management
Creators: Jones, A. and Valero-Silva, N.
Publisher: Emerald
Date: 1 September 2021
Volume: 18
Number: 3
ISSN: 1176-6093
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 16 Apr 2021 13:27
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2021 14:01

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