About

The Impact group at Oxford Saïd explore how the activities of organisations and markets relate to issues beyond creating financial value alone.

The idea of impact is open to multiple interpretations - something we regard as an analytic opportunity to build a robust literature. Our group broadly conceives impact as representing measurable evidence of a delta of change in a social or environmental context, in alignment with strategic objectives. In this sense 'impact' is quite distinct from notions of ‘purpose’ or ‘responsibility’ in organisational research.

Research

Our research builds both new theory and empirical evidence across a range of impact topics.

Our aim is to provide leaders with new thinking and practical tools to measure, manage, and maximise their impact. We carry out pioneering research in several areas, including:

  • Social innovation
  • Systems change
  • Organisation and system resilience
  • Impact measurement
  • Impact investing
  • Hybrid organising
  • New metrics in the ESG space
  • New conceptions and tools for measuring ‘profit’ and other outcomes of interest
  • Integrated reporting for corporations
  • Alternative frameworks and tools for policy
  • Experiments in social bonds
  • Outcomes-based policy-making
  • Circular Economy dynamics, climate change and sustainability
  • Emerging global climate finance funds
  • Rise and development of social finance in many country contexts
  • Scenarios and strategies for organisations in a networked world
  • The Sustainable Development Goals.

We are particularly interested in how complex systems form and change, how institutional context and cultural vocabularies shape and inform action and broader conceptions of rationality and efficiency, and how the conditions of measurement are intertwined with local activity. We examine how the architecture and practices of finance are shifting to engage and develop ideas like ‘patient capital’ and ‘impact investing’, and how current conditions pose challenges that require new governance models, measurement and accounting structures. We also examine how hybrid governance and forms operate, and how analyses of power and politics reveal the need for more effective beneficiary participation in decision-making.

We publish in books and leading academic journals, undertake consultancy with a range of organisations and agencies, and serve in leadership positions for professional associations and on journal editorial boards.

Programmes

Lecture theatre

Our research directly informs teaching and other engagement at the School and is the basis of collaborations with colleagues in other parts of the University.  We have developed a range of executive education programmes across a number of impact fields and offer innovative content in our degree and diploma programmes.

People

View from Lecture theatre

Our research agenda reflects original and collaborative work among over twenty faculty, fellows, early career researchers and postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, associate fellows and alumni.  Our colleagues combine their expertise across a broad range of business and management disciplines with theory and methods from anthropology, psychology, the humanities, complexity theory, cultural studies, behavioural theory, and economic and organisational sociology.