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'Balance': the development of a social enterprise business performance analysis tool

Bull, Mike (2006) 'Balance': the development of a social enterprise business performance analysis tool. In: 3rd Annual Social Enterprise Research Conference, 22-23 June 2003, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Social enterprise managers are challenged to constantly adapt to ever-changing environments; a balancing act requiring strategic reflection and analysis to achieve ongoing sustainability. Performance measurement through business analysis tools may offer organisations help in managing this process. This paper outlines the development of a sector specific business performance measurement tool – ‘Balance’, grounded in the business practices of social enterprises after in-depth qualitative research. Drawing on Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard, and Kolb and Fry’s organisational learning cycle as the conceptual framework, the paper explains how the tool was designed. The paper analyses results of a pilot phase of 30 social enterprises utilizing the Balance tool. The research findings provide a snapshot of the business capabilities of social enterprises and by highlighting both strengths and areas where greater support may be required the research has both policy and practitioner implications. It is envisaged such a tool may therefore be a catalyst in generating stronger social businesses that capitalise on opportunities and generate change through offering viable alternatives to the private sector.

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