Performance management for social enterprises

Meadows, Maureen and Pike, Matthew (2010). Performance management for social enterprises. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 23(2) pp. 127–141.



All organisations face the challenge of how to assess performance beyond current financial metrics. These challenges are felt especially strongly by social enterprises, organisations that use business methods to achieve social goals. Social enterprises need to evidence superior social outcomes, are normally accountable to a complex range of stakeholders and yet are often rated low to medium in terms of organisational capacity–thus whilst they have a great need for rounded measurement, they may in practice lack the ability to make use of the different approaches on offer. This paper examines the current and potential use of the conventional Balanced Scorecard model, by social enterprises. The Adventure Capital Fund provides case study evidence of extensive use of a modified Scorecard. The model used is dynamic, combining reflection on the organisation's current position, 'near term' and long term issues. It aims to take a holistic and coherent view of the management of social enterprises. Experience to date suggests that the medium term snapshot provided by the Scorecard is the most valuable, allowing organisations and especially boards and senior executives to keep a 'strategic grip' in a period of rapid change and focus on those actions that have best chance of changing performance in the round.

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