Purpose: This study aims to extend existing research on impact measurement (IM) in social enterprises (SEs) by capturing, comparing and contrasting perceptions of IM in SEs in Australia and India. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative methodology was used to study five cases each in India and Australia. The SEs were identified using snowball and theoretical sampling, and grounded theory was applied to analyze the data. Findings: Emerging perceptions of IM in both countries are described according to the development of the SE, its perceived impact and IM methods and challenges. Primary differences between India and Australia lie in perceptions of impact and IM, and related tools and processes. Similarities include understanding the importance of IM and the challenges faced. Signaling theory is used to depict how some SEs use IM to signal quality to their stakeholders and how information asymmetry can be reduced by measuring and reporting on IM. Research limitations/implications: There is limited representation from developed and developing countries, and the snowball and theoretical sampling approaches used to identify SEs have limitations, including limited representation of SEs. Practical implications: There is presently no standardized method of IM due to common challenges and perceived barriers. It is, therefore, important for SEs to work toward developing their own comprehensive IM methodology that is ingrained in strategy, applied on a regular basis and used to measure collective impact to increase sense of ownership and acceptability for employees and partners. Originality/value: The paper brings the social entrepreneurs’ perspectives on measuring social impact while comparing these perspectives in one developing and one developed country.
- Social entrepreneurship
- International comparison
- Developing and developed worlds
- Measuring social impact