August 10, 2009

Research hypotheses

Keystone also aims to test the following hypotheses for social purpose organizations. We see this as part of our social purpose, generating public goods that add knowledge to the sector.

Our direct work should contribute primary data relating to them and make it public, unless there is a strong reason not to. We also collaborate with other organizations working on related issues.


  1. Social purpose organization (SPO) plans are more reliable and effective when they explicitly identify which constituents have to do what in order to achieve and sustain social change. 
  2. When  SPOs’ goals depend on behavioural change by other constituents, then SPOs achieve more when they build effective relationships with those constituents.
  3. Measures of the quality of relationships and constituent voice can also be reliable indicators of operational efficiency and predictors of impact.
  4. The quality of the relationships between SPOs and other constituents can be measured in ways that: generate credible, quantified data that can be aggregated and compared; are cost effective; and empower constituents in relation to the SPO.
  5. Data on the quality of these relationships and constituent voice can be collected and reported in ways that create incentives for SPOs’ staff and managers to build more effective relationships. Specifically: (i) Staff and managers are more likely to act on data when it is presented as part of a comparative data set. (ii) Staff and managers invest more in building effective relationships when the following data is made public: (a) constituents’ views of the SPO’s performance; (b) constituents’ views on the claims that an SPO makes about its performance.