Alliance for Social Impact

The Alliance for Social Impact is a community of UQ Business School researchers whose work relates to all social purpose organisations (SPOs). This includes a broad range of organisations that are established to achieve a social purpose (charities, nonprofits, social enterprises and other hybrid organisations established for a social purpose) and socially-conscious business practices.

The hub brings together more than 40 academics and PhD students to:

  • facilitate mentorship, collaboration, and research dissemination
  • advance our practical and theoretical understanding of social impact practices
  • increase the impact of social impact research
  • actively engage with both domestic and global social impact centres, social sector policy planners, and social sector practitioners to seek solutions for social issues.

Collectively, Alliance for Social Impact researchers have expertise in diverse forms of social impact, especially charities, nonprofits, social enterprises and social entrepreneurship, and socially-conscious business practices.

Charities and nonprofits

Alliance for Social Impact members research a broad range of topics relevant to the work of charities and nonprofits both in Australia and around the world, which include:

  • Business model innovation (BMI) and SPO competitive strategy
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Social impact measurement and evaluation
  • Voluntourism
  • Nonprofit branding
  • Legal frameworks for social value delivery
  • Social sector responses to global wicked problems such as malnutrition and effects of climate change.

Social enterprises and social entrepreneurship

Alliance for Social Impact members research hybrid organisations and emerging business models that advance a dual focus on both financial and social profits. Researchers in the group are experts in:

  • Managing paradoxical tension in addressing dual institutional logics in social enterprises
  • Social enterprise performance (dual value delivery) measurement
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Bricolage and social entrepreneurship in resource-constrained settings and institutional voids
  • Social partnerships

Socially-conscious business practices

Researchers in the Alliance for Social Impact also focus on a wide range of socially-conscious practices that may be embedded into the work of commercial organisations. These include:

  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Social purpose branding
  • Social impact measurement
  • CSR and social innovation
  • Social marketing
  • Societal/employee wellbeing
  • Addressing adverse effects of climate change on societal wellbeing.

Charities and nonprofits

  • Brand purpose 
    The research explores the social impact from commercial brands pursuing higher purpose, that is purpose beyond profit. We are interested in understanding the impetus and outcomes of brand purpose strategies for both brands and society. Initial work clarifies the nature of brand purpose in relation to CSR and brand activism, with ongoing research focuses on purpose motivations and the resultant business and social impacts.
    Researchers: Cassandra France, Claudia Gonzalez, Anne-Maree O’Rourke, Amanda Spry  
  • Brand vulnerability: Building resilient non-profit brands, business model innovation in social purpose organizations 
    In collaboration with Australian non-profit brands, our work aims to understand what factors cause brand vulnerability. The project Researchers: aims to develop and test a novel brand vulnerability index (BVI) for non-profits that will assess how branding actions and external market and societal changes impact brand value. 
    Researchers: Jay Weerawardena, Josephine Previte, Cassandra France, Peter Popkowski-Leszczyc, Roderic Brodie, Surf Life Saving Queensland
  • Celebrity endorsement effects on nonprofits 
    Researchers: Ravi Pappu, Ann Wallin and Bettina Cornwell
    This research examines how celebrity endorsement affects consumer evaluations of a non-profit brand.
  • Corporate giving effects on consumer evaluations: the type of donation matters 
    This research examines how the type of donation offered influences consumer evaluations of firms involved in corporate giving.
    Researchers: Ravi Pappu, Sajeeb Saha, Kumar Rakesh Ranjan and Saeed Akhlaghpour
  • Mixed emotions and prosocial behaviours 
    Prosocial contexts, such as natural disasters or risky yet morally commendable activities, can elicit mixed emotions. This project investigates how to encourage people to engage in prosocial behaviours, such as charitable giving and volunteering, in response to such contexts.
    Researcher: Felix Septianto
  • Non-profit’s sponsorship engagement
    This research examines the impact of perceived sponsorship engagement on consumer prosocial behaviour toward the non-profit.
    Researchers: Ravi Pappu, Monica Chien, Dao Chuan Tang 
  • Sponsorship portfolio effects on nonprofits 
    This research examines how sponsorship portfolios affect consumer evaluations of a non-profit brand.
    Researchers: Ravi Pappu, Ann Wallin and Bettina Cornwell
  • Temporal distance Effects of Corporate Giving 
    This research examines how temporal distance of the donation influences consumer evaluations of firms involved in corporate giving.
    Researchers: Ravi Pappu, Sajeeb Saha, Kumar Rakesh Ranjan and Saeed Akhlaghpour

Social enterprises and social entrepreneurship

  • Building resilient social enterprises in Queensland
    This study which is funded by the Queensland Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training aims at identifying strategies to build resilient social enterprises in Queensland. The study examines the distinctive challenges encountered by social enterprises in Queensland. It will cover metropolitan, regional and Indigenous social enterprises in Queensland – including startups – and explore how they can build a viable foundation to deliver their social mission. The study aims to address the metropolitan and regional divide, where social enterprises in rural and regional areas operate with limited support networks and resourced ecosystems. We will also examine the contribution of growing Indigenous corporations and startup social enterprises that have received lesser attention in past studies.
    Researchers: Jay Weerawardena, Jo Previte, Sandeep Salunke (QUT), Sharlene Leo-Dyer and Srinwanti Chaudhury
  • Manifesto for hospitality work, GHRA (Global Hospitality Research Alliance)
    A manifesto is a reflective piece that differs from other conceptual papers: it is a public declaration of a body of persons, making known certain intentions or proclaiming certain motives in reference to some course of conduct. Our team from the Norwegian School of Hotel Management, UiS WITH group, GHRA, and international collaborators, are developing a Manifesto for Hospitality Work.
    Researchers: Olga Gjerald; Richard Robinson, Tom Baum, Tone Therese Linge, Anastasios Hadjisolomou, & Xander Lub
  • Queensland Tourism Workforce Strategy V2: A Crisis Resilience and Recovery Plan, Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship
    In partnership with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, we will be developing a Tourism Employment Crisis and Resilience Strategy to allow Queensland, Queensland businesses and Queenslanders to recover from the massive disruption of COVID-19 – and to effectively weather future shocks. 
    Researcher: Richard Robinson 
  • Social entrepreneurship as a strategic response for socio-economic development in Sri Lanka 
    This large research project funded by the World Bank is the first-ever known country-wide study to examine how social enterprises can contribute to regional development in Sri Lanka through social enterprises model. The study adopts a multi-method design with an initial qualitative phase followed by model development and concluded with a large-scale survey.
    Researchers: Uva Wellassa,: Kumudu Jayawardhana  

Socially-conscious business practices

  • Accessible peer coaching for artists and arts support workers with disabilities 
    This project builds on and extends Dr Power’s 2021-2022 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship. It seeks (1) To innovate in the field of peer coaching by developing and testing Easy Read versions of Creating Out Loud Discussion Guides, for use by artists living with an intellectual disability, and (2) To increase the accessibility and impact of the “Creating Out Loud” peer coaching program by developing tools that meet the needs of artists and arts workers who have low literacy and/or intellectual disability.
    Researchers: Kate Power,  Arts Access Australia & Rhonda Faragher
  • Are we measuring the right things? Improving behaviour change evaluation through participatory evaluation methodologies
    This research project aims to prioritise an intersectional approach to social change evaluation, and will develop an evaluation protocol and toolkit to allow for customisable, mix-method evaluations that can be easily deployed by health and community members. 
    Researchers: Josephine Previte, Helen Truby, Clare Dix and Ann Wallin
  • Careers in everyday industries: Potential benefits of increased visibility (National Careers Institute: Partnerships Grants)
    The project focuses on investigating and publicising available career paths, as well as on the reasons for poor public perceptions among various stakeholder groups.
    Researchers: Smith, E., Richard Robinson, Victor Callan, Smith, A., & Snell, D. 
  • Charity law research projects examine the incorporated structures of Australia and Canada 
    This research critically examines Australia and Canada's incorporated federal not-for-profit structures. As part of her doctrinal research, Kim's research has identified how Australia's dual registration and regulatory oversight of specific legal structures has created numerous governance issues. In examining these issues, Kim's research explores what, if any, lessons Australia can learn from Canada's new federal not-for-profit structure.
    Researcher: Kim Weinert
  • Cultural metacognition:  A large, well-stocked, organized, and illuminated toolshed in the mind
    Cognition and metacognition are discussed in terms of automatic- and deliberative-processes which are involved in activating one’s interdependent network of schemas in cultural metacognition.  The metaphor is used to discuss CM processes, where functionally-equivalent toolkits are mixed-and-matched to create new solutions for problems within cultures and cross-culturally.  
    Researchers: Andre Pekerti
  • Cybermobbing on social media: The role of technology in formation, prevention, and intervention of online collective deviant behavior 
    This project aims to study the collective nature and mechanism of cybermobbing on social media and evaluate technology-based prevention and intervention strategies.
    Researchers: Christy Cheung, Marten Risius, Jason Thatcher, Xiao-Liang Shen  
    Funding: Hong Kong Research Grants Council, Senior Research Fellow Scheme
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in marketing
    Our research explores how the online environment reduces weight-based stigma for larger sized fashion consumers, eliciting gratitude and resulting in more positive star ratings for the retailer. Our research presents the positive business impact of catering for this group of consumers, who are increasing in quantity, as fashion retailers have traditionally been reluctant to do so due to cost and brand image. 
    Researchers: Hiba Khan, Anne-Maree O’Rourke, Frank Mathmann, Shasha Wang
  • The effect of race and foreign accent on managers’ career progression
    The paper investigates factors that act as career progression barriers in immigrant managers.  Factors derived from the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) - warmth and competence, were used to examined perceptual cues (surface-diversity).  Race (white, non-white), and accents rather than immigrant-status were largely responsible for perceiving.
    Researchers: Nasreen Sultana, Andre Pekerti, Charmine Hartel & Tyler Okimoto
  • Empowering users to protect their personal privacy on social media
    This Information Systems project takes a bold approach aiming to finally overcome the paradoxical inertia of people who care about their privacy but do not protect it. This project integrates different psychological theories proposing a paradigm shift expecting to generate new knowledge in privacy research, which can currently neither explain nor provide means to overcome the vexing issue.
    Researchers: Marten Risius, Yuan Fang, Reza Ghaiumy Anaraky, Annika Baumann, Bart Knijnenburg, Hanna Krasnova
    Funding:  Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)
  • Enhancing mobility inclusion at events: from service failure to accessibility advocacy 
    This project aims to understand how advocacy for accessibility at events is enacted, and the responses to this form of advocacy by the event industry.
    Researchers: Jie Wang and Faith Ong 
    Funding: UQ Business School Internal Research Grant
  • Enhancing service inclusion for travellers with a disability: attribute-aware travel accessibility profiling  
    Representing innovations in the intersection of Tourism, Social Marketing, Data Science, and Social Mobility and Disability, this study aims to develop a travel accessibility profiling system to understand customer needs and innovate universal design for tourism service inclusion.
    Researchers: Jie Wang, Josephine Previte, Rocky Chen, Barbara Pini
    Funding: Faculty of Business, Economics and Law connect Grant
  • Establishing Fairness in AI Hate Speech Content Moderation 
    The goal of this project is to establish fairness in AI content moderation algorithms (i.e., a reduction of the disparate impacts of content moderation across groups advantaged and disadvantaged (marginalized) online groups (e.g., LGBTQ+ advocates, black civil rights activists).
    Researchers: Maren Risius, Kevin M. Blasiak, Okan Aydinguel 
    Funding: UQ Business School 2023 Research Project Funding
  • Facilitating disabled arts participation
    Drawing on customer engagement theory and using semi-structured interviews of people with and without disabilities, site visits and observations, this study contributes to understand the benefits and limitations of existing customer engagement theories and the need to develop context-specific models to capture motives and processes of disability participation in arts. 
    Researchers: Ruth Rentschler, Jay Weerawardena, Fara Ahmat, Ayse Collins
  • Globalization and n-Culturalism identities’ impact on trustees’ trustworthiness - A multiple paradox phenomenon and agenda for future research
    Multiculturalism within trustees may create a paradox for trustors.  Discussion on the limitations of the human cognitive systems unpack five interrelated cognitive paradox.  The question does trustees’ individual-level identity(ies) facilitate or hinder the perceived trustworthiness of trustees is discussed.
    Researchers: Andre Pekerti, Kwantes, C., Nicole Gillespie, Steve Lockey
  • Indigenous Multiculturalism: Role of Orthogonal n-Culturalism Within First Nations and Indigenous People 
    A theoretical presentation of orthogonal n-Culturalism for First Nations and Indigenous peoples.
    Researchers: Andre PekertiSharlene Leroy-Dyer, Kwantes, C.
  • LGBT+ consumers 
    Our research looks at how to better target LGBT+ consumers so that brands can authentically engage with this growing segment, and consequently, enhance their well-being.
    Researchers: Anne-Maree O’Rourke, Frank Mathmann, Alex Belli and Felix Septianto  
  • Migrants’ perspectives of managerial career progression: Lessons from Australia: 
    The career progression of migrants varies depending on their categorization as immigrants or members of the dominant in society, influenced by perceptions of warmth and competence in the migrants. This work highlights that human resource management practices need to be aware of unconscious biases and potential discriminatory practices in employment and career progression decisions for migrants.
    Researchers: Nasreen Sultana, Andre Pekerti and Charmine Hartel
  • Mission-oriented knowledge co-creation
    This research program focuses on knowledge co-creation between industry and university partners to produce innovations to address pressing social and environmental issues. It investigates the triggers, mechanisms, technologies, business models and outcomes from these collaborations and develop guidelines for practitioners, universities and policy-makers.
    Researchers: Martie-Louise Verreynne
  • On the fairness of data-driven online extremism detection 
    This project gathers data from online social forums on a specific collection of topics across different groups based on key attributes (e.g., race, gender, occupation, etc.) to quantify the performance gap of major data-driven online extremism approaches between groups. The goal is to design additional fairness constraints to be incorporated into the learning objective of the detection algorithms, and validate both the accuracy and fairness of the revamped algorithms for online extremism detection.
    Researchers: Marten Risius, Rocky Tong, Kevin M. Blasiak, Okan Aydinguel
    Funding: UQ AI Student Internship, Summer Projects
  • Race to well
    This research uses Queensland Ballet’s redevelopment of the Thomas Dixon Centre as a case study through which to analyse the relationships between space, creativity, wellness, and sustainability. It seeks (1) To identify whether (and, if so, how) the Thomas Dixon Centre (TDC) refurbishment meets its design intentions as both a workplace and a community hub, and (2) To identify how the new TDC space impacts creativity, wellness, and sustainability for individuals, the company, and the wider arts and culture sector.
    Researchers: Kate Power; Queensland Ballet Company & Remi Ayoko
  • Social systems of care
    This research focuses on the ecology of care and implications for inclusive service for people with disabilities (PWD), and aging consumer – specifically consumers using the aged-care service system. Current projects driving this research inquiry include:
    • Project 1: Understanding consumer perceptions of financial information to enhance group decision making when accessing aged care services in times of crisis. Collaborators: Josephine Previte in collaboration with Robyn King, Kath Herbohn, Tracy Comans. 
    • Project 2: Enhancing service inclusion for travellers with a disability: attribute-aware travel accessibility profiling. Joe Previte in collaboration with Jie Wang, Rocky Chen . Industry partners: Binna Burra Foundation and Vacayit.
      ​​​​​Researcher: Josephine Previte
  • Sustainability informatics for the pacific (ACE-SIP) 
    ACE-SIP (Sustainability Informatics for the Pacific) is a multi-university team advancing blockchain research and education in environmental, governmental, and social sustainability in the Pacific Region. For further information, see Algorand Centre of Excellence on Sustainability Informatics for the Pacific.
    Researchers: Marten Risius with multiple partnerships including Climateworks
    Funding: Algorand Foundation - Algorand Centres of Excellence
  • T&E-SIG-DEI: A global perspective of DEI in international business education
    Presentation and continuing work on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. The Academy of International Business is working towards developing the DEI initiative in the academy.
    Researchers: Andre Pekerti, Peter Liesch
  • UN Women project 
    This project aims to synthesise and map all existing gender equity stakeholder groups, research, reporting and knowledge in Australia to provide a national-level understanding of the complexity of gender inequity. 
    Researchers: Terry Fitzsimmons, UN Women


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