Social value as a mechanism for linking public administrators with society: identifying the meaning, forms and process of social value creation

Payal Jain*, Richard Hazenberg, Fred Seddon, Simon Denny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Despite public/private/third sector organisations creating and demonstrating the social value of their interventions, they face challenges in understanding and executing the process of social value creation, due to both the lack of definition and theoretically embedded explanatory models of social value. This article seeks to fill this gap by defining social value and identifying the process involved in social value creation from a Weberian standpoint of social action, class and power. Nine resource capitals were identified that contribute to the creation of social value in society: social, ethical, cultural, human/intellectual, physical, economic/financial, environmental/natural, religious, and political. The research utilises Q-methodology to develop a typology of social value and semi-structured interviews to understand the process of social value creation. The results reveal four-types of social value: action-driven, outcomes-driven, sustainability-driven and pluralism-driven, which can be derived through individual/collaborative and resource capitals-driven processes. An integrated framework for social value creation, embedded within a Weberian theoretical framework, is presented to assist policy-makers to commission social value, and public/private/third sector organisations to deliver social value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Early online date13 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Sep 2019



  • Q methodology
  • Social value creation
  • intangible capital
  • intangible value
  • social impact
  • social value

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