Research Article Open Access

Social Impact as an Intangible Driver in Assessing Economic Value: An Application to the Italian Third Sector

Cosentino Antonietta1, Bongiovanni Laura2, Cesari Alberto2 and Di Stefano Cristina3
  • 1 Department of Business and Law, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • 2 Isnet Association, Bologna, Italy
  • 3 Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Italy


Many studies have focused on Intellectual Capital (IC) applied to the Third Sector in the past few years. Despite the growing interest in intellectual capital in the field, the concept remains unclear.  Few scholars and practitioners deal with the subject, however, as far as we know there are no studies that show the relationship between social impact generated by non-profit organizations and IC. This is the first study to be focused on this topic. This paper aims to fill the gap in the literature and demonstrate the relation between social impact and IC in the Social Work Integration Cooperatives (SWICs). This paper contributes to the literature by theoretically arguing that the measurement of social value improves SWICs’ economic value as a consequence of improvements of relationships and trust with external stakeholders (intangible assets). To ground our theoretical hypothesis, we measure the social impact value achieved by Italian SWICs through an aggregate analysis.  That is the starting point and the findings can generate further research from both non-profit practitioners and scholars through the measurement of hypotheses over time.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 14 No. 12, 2017, 1152-1166


Submitted On: 29 November 2017 Published On: 2 January 2018

How to Cite: Antonietta, C., Laura, B., Alberto, C. & Cristina, D. S. (2017). Social Impact as an Intangible Driver in Assessing Economic Value: An Application to the Italian Third Sector. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 14(12), 1152-1166.

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  • Intellectual Capital
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  • Social Work Integration Cooperatives
  • Non-Profit Organizations