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Differences in the impact assessment of social initiatives carried out by private firms and civil society organizations: evidence from Ibero-America

Listed author(s):
  • Mladen Koljatic

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to compare assessment practices for highly visible social initiatives implemented by civil society organizations (CSOs) and businesses in Latin America and Spain. Design/methodology/approach - The paper presents a secondary analysis of field-based case studies that focused on four dimensions of assessments carried out by companies and CSOs to determine the impact of their social initiatives. The four aspects studied were: definition of the initiative's mission and goals; creation of value for stakeholders; quality of managerial practices deployed in the social initiative; and degree of alignment of mission and strategy. Ad hoc scales were developed and two raters evaluated the cases based on these dimensions. Findings - CSOs made a greater effort than businesses to assess their initiatives, as reflected in the four performance assessment scores. Research limitations/implications - The main limitations were the limited scope of information available for the analysis – a drawback when using secondary data – and the particular characteristics of the initiatives in this convenience sample. Practical implications - Businesses implementing initiatives with expected social impacts as part of their CSR efforts should not rule out the possibility of outsourcing management and assessment of those initiatives to CSOs. Originality/value - The paper sheds light on the relative strengths of CSOs compared with companies with regard to managing and assessing social initiatives. The finding is somewhat unexpected, given the culture of management effectiveness that permeates the business sector. The authors conclude that further study is required to identify the reasons for higher CSO performance and suggest some venues for such studies.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 374-385

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Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:3:p:374-385
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