Social Impact Assessment In Decision Making Essay


Discuss about the Social Impact Assessment in Decision Making.



Environmental assessment is criteria that the government has mandatory to improve the effect of any project before their development. Any project before the initiation requires to assess the impact. This includes risk assessment, cultural and hazard assessment, economic affect assessment and policy evaluation (Grieco et al. 2015).

The scheme has been developed by US government in 1970 (Smith 2014). The environmental assessment includes the monitoring and evaluation of the company’s latest projects. The three element of this evaluation are public policy, health and education initiatives and international impact assessments. In Australia Newcastle City Council and potential issues, policies created the first Consultative Panel and actions were taken based on the models and theoretical framework of Social Impact theories (Prenzel and Vanclay 2014).

There are two kinds of approach to SIA, The technical approach and political approach. Both are simultaneously important to consider before the planning process of the project. The most important social impact assessment theory is Actor-Network Theory (Epstein and Buhovac 2014).

The projects of development are mostly initiated for governmental to create a difference in the lifestyle of general people by intervening, transforming and enforcing. The most important part of the projects is to execute without any hindrance. The wellbeing of individuals are of priority and thus by monitoring and evaluating the impact before making a decision is needed action for developers. Like risk assessment takes into consideration the chances of success, the SIA takes care of major ethics of developing a project (Hildebrandt et al. 2014). The happenings of people and impact of the project is positive or negative is assessed in the planning stage of a project. Action, interaction, change and impact are the main elements of this theory (Epstein and Buhovac 2014).

Different stages in project development

It should be ensured that the identified variables of those that are involved in projects, be it directly or indirectly, are measurable. The human population and community involved (workers, employers and their favmilies0, political resources, social resources, environmental resources (Becker 2014).

Population characteristics of the region of the place the project is getting developed presents the change in ethnic, influxes as well as outflows of temporary residents. If the project is developed and the region is not suitable for the population, there would be consequences and unwanted expenses to bear (Smith 2014).

Community and industrial development must be in accord with the project development plan and execution. The whole system must have capacity for industrial change and voluntary association for that can relate to each other. Thus, the harmony is needed before forming the plan (Smyth and Vanclay 2017).

Individual and family changes were very important for the stakeholders involved in the project.

Community resources and social resources are essential part of project planning to consider. As an industry cannot run without the resources that are needed to fulfil the work (Hildebrandt et al. 2014).

The aspects where social variables affects the life of people and should be considered while decision making

  • The way of people’s life in the society, that is how they live, work, play and interact with other people.
  • The social or individual culture of people, the religion, values, language diversity or dialect of people
  • The political systems of the project and level of democracy in the environment is a major aspect to consider for the purpose of betterment of the project as well as the conceptualisation of the social impacts
  • The health and well-being of the people need to be taken into consideration
  • Disadvantage of violation of the human rights by any means (Epstein and Buhovac 2014)

Standard of making the SIA in Australia

The Australian government has standards and sub standards of social impact assessment rules and regulations that seek for fulfilment of the policies.

  • The main objective of this policy is to have direct impact assessment team and detail statement of the impact
  • Enhance the consistency, transparency and council’s assessment of social issues
  • Assist the staff to improve their assessments of development of projects (Becker 2014)

The key principles for assessing the social impact for having data to help in decision-making

  • To have minimum necessary information to avoid the complexity in decision making
  • List of positive as well as the negative impacts in environmental aspects. This will be useful in construction and operation
  • Participation of the people and social groups that have potential impact of the project development
  • Practical and action focused statement of the assessment of the project requirement that is related to the assessments.
  • Least of all the health, productivity and diversity of the environment should be given more emphasis in order to analyse the impact in the life of people who are involved
  • The fear and aspiration of the perception of the physical safety and adequacy of the sanitation also comes under the impact (Arce-Gomez et al. 2015)

The nature of SIA policies that includes the international context is to help make better decisions and also mitigating the implementation program’s harmful effect and maximising the output of the productivity (Karami et al. 2017). SIA is a complementary activity to economic development. It increases the sustainability of the planned project. The agencies and professional have different context of executing this task in order to commit to the sustainability, integrity, equity and fairness of human rights as well as advocates the accountability and openness of the ethics. It also adds value to the system (Franks and Vanclay 2013).

The major activities that are included in the SIA are

  • It participates in the planned intervention
  • It also identifies interested and people who are affected by the project development
  • Documents and analysis of the historical settings of the site and what has affected before
  • Social profiling of the stakeholders impact of assessment and process
  • Assessment of the process that needs to be identified (Karami et al. 2017)
  • Assist in the process of selecting the site
  • Assessments of the evaluation process is known as the major activity of developing a project (Franks and Vanclay 2013)
  • The recommendation regarding the process is needed for mitigating the measure that are taken in development stage
  • The project needs to be in harmony with the development and capacity building in community
  • Appropriate coordination and arrangements in the non-mitigatable impacts
  • The mentoring and management programs should be assisted (Glasson et al. 2013)


Therefore, from the above discussions it can be concluded that Social Impact Theory is one of the most important part of making a project sustain in the economy. The main concern in the development of project is to meet the ultimate goal set by management programs and without analysing the impact of the project in social environment. The scope is covered by studying people with different background. The reliability of the project also depends upon the extension sustainability factor. The social exchange theory is based on the relevant issues that are identified in the actor network theory. The economist links the development of the complex process and each development activities listed above affects well-being of the people’s lives. It is essential for decision makers to maximise the benefit and outcome of the project, thus efforts must be given in developing the policies of social impact after assessment.


Arce-Gomez, A., Donovan, J.D. and Bedggood, R.E., 2015. Social impact assessments: Developing a consolidated conceptual framework. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 50, pp.85-94.

Becker, H., 2014. Social impact assessment: method and experience in Europe, North America and the developing world. Routledge.

Epstein, M.J. and Buhovac, A.R., 2014. Making sustainability work: Best practices in managing and measuring corporate social, environmental, and economic impacts. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Franks, D.M. and Vanclay, F., 2013. Social Impact Management Plans: Innovation in corporate and public policy. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 43, pp.40-48.

Glasson, J., Therivel, R. and Chadwick, A., 2013. Introduction to environmental impact assessment. Routledge.

Grieco, C., Michelini, L. and Iasevoli, G., 2015. Measuring value creation in social enterprises: A cluster analysis of social impact assessment models. Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly, 44(6), pp.1173-1193.

Hildebrandt, L. and Sandham, L.A., 2014. Social impact assessment: The lesser sibling in the South African EIA process?. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 48, pp.20-26.

Karami, S., Karami, E., Buys, L. and Drogemuller, R., 2017. System dynamic simulation: A new method in social impact assessment (SIA). Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 62, pp.25-34.

Prenzel, P.V. and Vanclay, F., 2014. How social impact assessment can contribute to conflict management. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 45, pp.30-37.

Smith, L.G., 2014. Impact assessment and sustainable resource management. Routledge.

Smyth, E. and Vanclay, F., 2017. The Social Framework for Projects: a conceptual but practical model to assist in assessing, planning and managing the social impacts of projects. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 35(1), pp.65-80.

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