4 min read
Feb 2021

Measuring Purpose — An Integrated Framework(Block with video)


Published January 2021

The Economics of Mutuality and The Oxford Initiative on Rethinking Performance at Saïd Business School have been working with key academics and thought leaders to create an integrated frame of reference for the measurement of purpose and how it relates to accounting, reporting and valuation.

Bruno Roche, Economics of Mutuality Founder & Executive Director, has co-authored the paper along with:

Clara Barby, Impact Management Project
Richard Barker, Saïd Business School
Ronald Cohen, Global Steering Group for Impact Investment
Robert Eccles, Saïd Business School
Christian Heller, Value Balancing Alliance
Colin Mayer, Saïd Business School
George Serafeim, Harvard Business School
Judith Stroehle, Saïd Business School
Rupert Younger, Saïd Business School
Robert Zochowski, Harvard Business School

The paper proposes a logical and inclusive three-step model for measuring purpose:

1. Motives: Publicly anchor the purpose, mission and vision of the organisation. Provide clarity around how they are governed.

2. Metrics: Identify the business impact metrics that flow from the enactment of the stated purpose and mission. The metrics need to capture four items – inputs, outputs, outcomes and impacts.

3. Money: Allocate monetary values where appropriate and relevant to the four reporting items through enterprise cost-based accounting and societal valuation.

The model provides a coherent reporting framework against which critical decisions can be made. These decisions may be internal – enabling management to allocate scarce resources better – or external, allowing investors and other critical stakeholders to assess the performance of a company against its stated purpose.

The paper categorises the different measurement initiatives under the three stages of the model, in the hope that doing so will promote further discussion and convergence of best practice. The intention is for the paper to evolve over time through collaborative input. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch.

Read paper

Webinar based on the paper

Panellists: Saori Dubourg, Member of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF; Elena Flor, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Intesa Sanpaolo; Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (Chair); Bruno Roche, Founder and Executive Director, Economics of Mutuality; Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First; and Rupert Younger, Director of the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Organisers: Enacting Purpose Initiative and the British Academy.


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