PhD Studentship: Perceptions of social value in the third sector: Developing a definitional framework of social value.

Pay & Expenses: £13590 per annum (including £1000 research expenses budget) and tuition fees for 3 years


The recent passage through parliament of the Public Services ‘Social Value’ Act (SVA, 2012) has required public sector organisations to consider the non-financial impacts of their procurement processes (SEUK, 2012). In particular, this relates to the social and economic impacts that the procurement of services from private or public sector organisations might have upon the local area within which these services operate. However, whilst the SVA came into effect on January 31st 2013, no single definition of social value can be currently agreed upon (NAVCA, 2013). The definitions that have been created have often focused upon the measurement of social value and the different tools used in this process (e.g. Social Return on Investment – SROI) (Wood and Leighton, 2010). In addition to this, there has to date been little research conducted by academics, policy-makers or practitioners to develop a theoretical overview of social value. Without a theoretical underpinning that is grounded in robust, reliable and valid academic research, any attempts at empirical measurement of social value are floored. There is therefore a need for empirical academic research that would provide a theoretical understanding of social value. Social enterprises have been traditionally viewed as creators of social value, in part due to their focus upon the triple-bottom line (Campi et al., 2006), their lack of a profit motive and their dual ownership structures (Gui, 1991; Reid and Griffiths, 2006). Research that therefore explored social enterprise conceptions of social value in order to develop a theoretical model would be of great interest to academics, practitioners and policy-makers. This PhD will explore the perceptions of leading social entrepreneurs, policy-makers and social enterprise beneficiaries in order to develop a theoretical overview of what constitutes social value.

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Applications are welcomed from national or international candidates with a first degree (first or upper second, or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject. The applicant must have excellent oral and written English skills and have experience in conducting research, including research methods training. Additionally, relevant work experience in the third sector and/or in national and European policy-making around social value and the third sector would be beneficial.

Deadline for applications:

The deadline for applications is August 31st 2013. Interviews will be held in the week commencing September 9th 2013.

Start date:

A provisional start date would be agreed with the successful candidate after the interview process.

Informal enquiries:

Informal enquiries should be made via email to Dr Richard Hazenberg at (

For an application form and further details, please go to the Apply link below

Please quote reference: UN13SOCVAL

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