Impact Measurement Practices: Relevance for the Performance of Social Organizations

João Pedro Dos Santos Duarte

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the last decades, the world has observed the appearance of thousands of organizations trying to solve the world’s most complex social and environmental issues. However, several of these organizations don’t follow the conventional non-profit approach which has been commonly used by organizations intervening in the societal sector. Instead they combine the passion of a social mission with the discipline, innovation and models of commercial businesses.
For these organizations particularly, it becomes relevant, apart from measuring financial performance – through financial metrics or key performance indicators – to measure social impact. Social impact measurement practices are primordial to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of the organizations on the field. Nonetheless, most social organizations don’t do it since it is relatively hard to assess, requires a set-in place structure and above all, brings an extra cost to the already resources stressed social organizations.
Until now, there is no conclusive study that explores the outcomes that impact measurement practices bring to an organization. This paper presents an exploratory analysis of the learnings that social organizations retrieve from impact measurement practices and how it is related to organizational performance. Through in-depth case research of social organizations in the education sector in India, some that have impact measurement structures in place and some that don’t, this study intends to shed light on the outcomes of impact measurement practices and its influence in organizational operations and performance.
By comparing how learning happens in organizations that measure from the ones that don’t measure, the intrinsic value of such practices becomes apparent and it becomes relevant in helping social organizations to understand impact measurement practices more in depth and how it can bring value to them.
Conclusions consider practical and academic recommendation as well as some further questions around the potential and limitations of impact measurement practices while suggesting some new lines of research going forward.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages115
SupervisorsKai Hockerts