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Distinguishing game changers from boastful charlatans: Which social enterprises measure their impact?


  • Karen Maas
  • Cecilia Grieco


Social entrepreneurship (SE) is a beautiful and growing vehicle in society to tackle social problems in innovative ways. Unfortunately, existing research has failed to address to what extent SEs are truly living up to their promises. In result, surprisingly little is known about the actual success of SEs in creating social impact. Even more elementary, it is hard to know whether SEs are measuring and monitoring their social impact. Using a worldwide sample of 3.194 SEs from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) data this study provides unique insights, as it represents the first global and harmonized assessment of the practice of impact measurement of SEs. Findings show that about 33% of the SEs in the sample do measure their impact. Furthermore, the results show a significant positive relation between economic mission, size and innovativeness of the SE and impact measurement. The relation between social mission and impact measurement show a significant negative result. These results can be seen as a starting point in investigating the actual practice of SEs involvement in impact measurement and opens up interesting avenues for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Maas & Cecilia Grieco, 2017. "Distinguishing game changers from boastful charlatans: Which social enterprises measure their impact?," Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 110-128, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jsocen:v:8:y:2017:i:1:p:110-128
    DOI: 10.1080/19420676.2017.1304435

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cinquini, Lino & Tenucci, Andrea, 2007. "Is the adoption of Strategic Management Accounting techniques really “strategy-driven”? Evidence from a survey," MPRA Paper 11819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Loretta Serrano & Monica Bose & Daniel Arenas & Gabriel Berger & Patricia Márquez & Gerardo Lozano & Elsa Del Castillo & João Teixeira Pires & Elidia Novaes & Forrest Colburn & Alfred Vernis & Enrique, 2006. "Effective Management of Social Enterprises: Lessons from Businesses and Civil Society Organizations in Iberoamerica," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 79938 edited by Enrique Ogliastri & Roberto Gutiérrez & Ezequiel Reficco & James Austin, February.
    3. repec:idb:idbbks:444 is not listed on IDEAS
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