Social Impact, a Theoretical Model

Jenny Onyx


This paper constructs a theoretical model of social impact as it applies to civil society organisations. It does so by drawing on the recent literature on the topic as well as recently completed empirical studies. First, the relationship between impact and evaluation is examined. This is followed by an exploration of the capitals, notably social, human, and cultural capital and their interrelationships, as a theoretical base for the explication of social impact. A formal model of social impact is then identified together with a set of basic principles that may be said to define social impact. Finally the implications of the model are discussed for social policy and organisational management.


social impact, civil society organisations, social capital

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