An analysis of the Social Impact Assessment family of methods
Nijen, Sebastiaan van
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Over the past decades, Social Impact Assessment (SIA), which measures the social consequences of an organisation's project, program, or policy has shifted from its traditional context in project development to a more recent variant of SIA, where it is employed in the third and fourth sec- tor by mission-driven organisations, which we refer to as mission-driven SIA. As organisations are experiencing growing pressure to demonstrate their impact on societal issues and the demand for conducting SIA increased, many SIA methods and tools that enable these methods have been created. Within the domain of SIA, there is a lack of consensus and established standards and a lack of research on rationale on the subdivisions of Impact Measurement families. This research aims to increase the academic understanding of Social Impact Assessment by providing the groundwork for a standard language to specify SIA methods, where we extend the open-source tool openESEA, which currently supports the specification of Ethical, Social, and Environmental Accounting (ESEA) methods. For this, we propose a new classification system to analyse and compare SIA methods. By modelling and comparing existing SIA methods, we create a generic model that gives us an overview of the main features of SIA. With these features, which includes a Theory of Change, correction mechanisms and indicators, we extend the meta-model of openESEA and its accompanying DSL which can be used to specify SIA methods. Additionally, we conduct a market analysis on the Dutch government-commissioned SIA method the Impact Path and nd that practitioners are generally positive about the method, but it requires more collaboration, development, and extension to become the SIA method the government aims it to become.