Social value appraisal: cutting the Gordian knot


  • Irene D.M Ciccarino Centro de Investigação Aplicada em Gest~ao e Economia da Escola de Tecnologia e Gest~ao do Instituto Politecnico de Leiria (CARME/ESTG/IPLeiria), Leiria
  • Susana Cristina Serrano Fernandes Rodrigues Centro de Investigaç~ao Aplicada em Gest~ao e Economia da Escola de Tecnologia e Gest~ao do Instituto Politecnico de Leiria (CARME/ESTG/IPLeiria), Leiria
  • Jorge Ferreira Da Silva IAG – Escola de Negócios da PUC-Rio, Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro



Value creation, Social value, Social innovation, Social investment, Social value appraisal


Purpose: Social initiatives must disclose their results to achieve support. However, there is no theoretical consensus about how to do it. It is still necessary to understand the value creation in social initiatives because they may or may not have economic goals. However, economic goals serve to make social goals feasible. This study tries to cut this Gordian knot by providing measures aligned with the value theory but developed by the social lens. It offers a non-economic-focused approach to assessing complexity and multiple stakeholders' information.      

Methodology: Three composed measures built upon tested and reliable scales suggest a consolidation research path. We have discussed these value measures through narratives from Portuguese investors and social entrepreneurs in a mixed-methods design. Content analysis and online survey provided data for descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach's Alpha test.

Findings: The analyses supported the value measures. Thus, they allow an effective way to assess and report the social value created. It also highlighted a potential use in preventive and corrective approaches helpful for several organizations that pursue social goals.

Research limitations/implications: The measures were tested based on social entrepreneurs’ opinions. Future studies can include beneficiaries’ opinions, allowing comparisons that can help to set more realistic goals and better investment criteria.

Originality/value: The relationship between investors and initiatives can improve, boosting their impact on society. The measures can highlight prioritization choices that influence the way value is created. Hence, they serve as sensemaking from a holistic standpoint.


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Social value appraisal: cutting the Gordian knot. (2024). INMR - Innovation & Management Review, 21(1).