Conceptualising Social Value: Perspectives of the Public, Private and Third Sectors in the UK

  • Payal Jain

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In present times when economic recession has impacted all the countries in the world to some extent, different approaches have been adopted by governmental and non-governmental organisations to maximise the provision of social benefit. The UK Government, for instance, launched the Social Value Act in 2012 and implemented it in 2013, requiring organisations to create social and environmental value in addition to the economic value during public procurement processes. This act encouraged the collaboration of public, private and third sectors to focus on social value creation for the benefit of beneficiaries. However, the construct of social value remains ambiguous and subjective as it is understood and practiced differently by societal stakeholders, leading to the conduct of this research study. This research study takes a qualitative approach to study the concept of social value within the UK society. The research utilised Q method to understand the construct of social value and interviewed individuals creating social value in the UK to understand the process of social value creation. Results from the Q method indicated four different facets of social value: action-driven, outcomes-driven, sustainability-driven and pluralism-driven social value. The results from the qualitative data provided insights into the process adopted by stakeholders for the creation of social value, which includes three phases: individual and collaborative responses, resource mobilisation and impact on social value creation. Both the studies complemented each other and provided analytical and valuable insight into the construct of social value that can be helpful in future research and/or practice related to social value.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorFrederick A Seddon (Supervisor) & Richard Hazenberg (Supervisor)

Cite this