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Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


Social enterprises (SEs) are businesses managed by entrepreneurs who seek to improve society, and they represent an important trend in social change work. However, there is little empirical knowledge about which blended value accounting (BVA) methods are used by SE managers, and whether the use of BVA is perceived by SE managers as a critical success factor. Blended value accounting is a conceptual framework for measuring combined social and financial outcomes in SEs, and some believe that the use of BVA may be a critical success factor for SEs. This research was based on Covin and Slevin's conceptualization of entrepreneurial orientation. The main research question was whether the use of BVA methods was correlated with SE success from the perception of the SE managers. Surveys were sent to 3,682 SE managers in North America, the United Kingdom, Asia, and Africa (n = 280). Data were analyzed using multiple regression, with the dependent variable SE success, and the independent variables: the use of BVA method, number of employees, length of time in business, economic sector, and country of registration. Findings indicated no statistically significant correlation between the use of BVA method and SE success, though most SE managers, 73% of 280 respondents, were using BVA methods for other reasons, including complying with state laws. The BVA method B-Impact Rating System was used by 59% of survey respondents who used any method of BVA. These findings suggest that SE managers should select a BVA method that is inexpensive to implement, aligns with industry standards, and provides them with management information. Supporting agencies should create a global registry of SEs, report on the social change impact they create through their businesses, and encourage all businesses to adopt the social-change orientation of SEs.

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