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Construire l’évaluation de l’impact social dans les organisations à but non lucratif : instrumentation de gestion et dynamiques de rationalisation

Abstract : This thesis focuses on how social impact assessment is built and implemented within nonprofit organizations. At the crossroads of management accounting and organizational theory, it aims to contribute to the research on third sector organizations which have been little studied in management science until now.In recent years there has been a broad consensus on the need to measure the value for society produced by socially-oriented organizations. This measure should enable these organizations to report on the fulfillment of their mission to their stakeholders and to monitor their activities. Despite the willingness of several institutional actors, no standard or consensus has yet emerged on how to assess the social impact of nonprofit organizations. Thus stakeholders face with many questions about the content and the relevant tools to implement. Moreover, the implementation of an evaluation in line with funders' expectations at the expense of other stakeholders’ expectations and more generally the influence of the business sphere on social impact measurement raise questions about the coherence between social impact measurement and specificity of non-profit organizations.These challenges led us to choose to focus on the construction of actual practices of social impact measurement in nonprofit organizations. We chose to study more specifically the articulation between the technical aspects and the context of social impact measurement. To analyze this, we rely on the notion of rationality. The thesis is also based on the academic work on measuring the performance of non-profit organizations on the one hand and on the literature on management tools and socio-material devices on the other hand.The methodology of the thesis is an intervention research. For three years, the Ph.D. candidate acted as a project coordinator on social impact measurement at Apprentis d'Auteuil, a large French foundation dedicated to youth facing social difficulties. Empirical data is divided in two parts: an organizational level that corresponds to the process of reflection and deployment of social impact measurement within the organization as a whole, and a project level consisting of five social impact evaluations of specific entities inside the organization. This double observation level allows an analysis of various dynamics of social impact measurement within the organization.The results of the thesis are divided into three parts. First, we propose an analytical framework which enables to position both existing social impact measurement tools and organizational practices of social impact measurement. Secondly, we show that the implementation of social impact assessment results in a multi-rationality, combining instrumental rationality with other forms of rationality. This combination of rationalities is analyzed in the judgment of external actors, representation of the entity evaluated and the measurement process itself. Third, we show that social impact assessment can be considered a rational myth. This rational myth allowed the appropriation of the idea without the deployment of a standardized evaluation tool. This appropriation enables a meaningful implementation for the actors in conformity with the specificities of nonprofit organizations.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 12:22:05 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 7, 2022 - 3:52:30 AM


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Julien Kleszczowski. Construire l’évaluation de l’impact social dans les organisations à but non lucratif : instrumentation de gestion et dynamiques de rationalisation. Gestion et management. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX108⟩. ⟨tel-01768567⟩



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