What Are Best Practices in Impact Measurement to Support Organisations in Measuring the Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability?

Sally Kah

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article intends to provide a realistic view of social impact measurement based on my previous and ongoing research on social impact measurement. The challenge of what to measure, how to measure, and for whom to measure are still critical questions facing many social enterprises today. However, the current pressing questions are: What social impact tools or frameworks are suitable for different organisational sizes? And which tools or frameworks are appropriate for measuring the triple bottom line of sustainability? In this paper, I propose ICDEA as the best practice for social impact measurement in small-and-medium enterprises that wish to measure the triple bottom line of sustainability. ICDEA stands for Internal, Construct, Develop, Engage and Assess. Previous research has revealed that social enterprises measure their impact due to pressure from policy-makers and funders. In my investigation into social impact assessment practices in the UK, I found that social enterprises are driven by the Board of Directors and senior managers who have different motivations. The Board of Directors has a long-term outlook for the organisation. They want to build trust with the beneficiaries, provide evidence-based outcomes to funders and be recognised for their quality in social impact measurement. On the other hand, senior managers are driven by improving quality in the operational standards. For both drivers, social impact measurement is a risk assessment exercise that allows social enterprises to detect potential hazards and develop action-oriented plans to tackle the issues. I also found that for-profit and not-for-profit social enterprises produced evidence of financial and non-financial impact.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 9 Jun 2022


    • social impact measurement
    • social enterprises
    • triple bottom line
    • sustainability
    • UK


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