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Social Impact Investing: The Nature, Meaning and Role of Performance Metrics


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in Australia face unprecedented economic constraints as traditional governmentsupported funding declines and service demand grows. Impact investor funds are potentially critical to fill this funding gap; however, we know relatively little about what information impact investors need (Dembeck et al., 2017; Gilchrist and Knight, 2016), including what type of reports, and what level of comparable data, investors require on NFPs’ service performance and social impact. There is also little knowledge of how investors use NFP information, and on their needs or preferences for assurance of NFPs’ service performance reports. This study will assess how NFPs can provide better information to impact investors for making more informed investment decisions. The study has three key objectives:

• To establish what types of information impact investors need on NFPs’ service performance and social impact, including how such information affects investment decisions;
• To identify key gaps between investors’ needs and extant NFPs’ service performance data; and
• To assess whether current NFP assurance practices match potential and current impact investors’ needs and preferences. The proposed project will also build upon the Governance, Accountability and the Law research priority area initiatives that have been in the past supported by external funding partners such as CPA Australia. For example, the recent GAL study that was co-funded by CPA Australia, titled the ‘Mergers and Amalgamations within the NFP sector’, revealed the need for better understanding of social impact investor information needs and behaviours towards performance reporting.

Proposed Postgraduate Research Programme

School: School of Accounting
Program name: PhD (Accounting)
Course code: DR200
Enabling Capability Platform (ECP) - https://www.rmit.edu.au/research/research-expertise/our-focus/enabling-capability-platforms Alignment : Global Business Innovation

Supervisory Team/Contact

Professor Nava Subramaniam
Dr Laura Maran
Dr Yesh Nama

Academic Contact

HDR Coordinator, Dr Venkat Narayanan -

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