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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64400 Find in a Library
Title: TINKERING WITH OPEN SYSTEMS - ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM EVALUATION (FROM IMPROVING EVALUATIONS, 1979, BY LOIS-ELLIN DATTA AND ROBERT PERLOFF - SEE NCJ-64392)
Author(s): M S KNAPP
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS RESEARCH PAPER DESCRIBES FEATURES AND ORGANIZATIONAL ASSUMPTIONS OF FORMAL PROGRAM EVALUATION APPROACHES AND DISCUSSES THREE PERSPECTIVES OF ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR PROGRAM EVALUATION.
Abstract: SEVERAL THEMES RUN THROUGH THE DISCUSSION OF ORGANIZATIONAL ASSUMPTIONS IMPLICIT IN MOST CURRENT PROGRAM EVALUATION ACTIVITY. NEW EVALUATIVE INFORMATION PLAYS A ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION'S SYSTEM OF AUTHORITY AND CONTROL. PROGRAM EVALUATIONS PRECIPITATE FORCES WHICH CAN INFLUENCE THE STABILITY OF THE AUTHORITY SYSTEM, ALTER THE ABILITY OF THE STAFF TO WORK TOGETHER, AND AFFECT STAFF JOBS. ORGANIZATIONS AS OPEN SYSTEMS ALSO EXIST IN DELICATE BALANCE WITH A COMPLEX ENVIRONMENT. PROGRAM EVALUATION CAN, AND OFTEN DOES, ALTER THAT BALANCE. CHOICES MADE AS PART OF THE PROGRAM EVALUATION PROCESS ARE FUNDAMENTALLY POLITICAL, FAVORING CERTAIN INTERESTS TO THE EXCLUSION OF OTHERS. LACK OF CONSENSUS ABOUT DESIRABLE OUTCOMES ALSO MAKES PRECISE MEASUREMENTS LESS RELEVANT TO ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS, AND LACK OF CLARITY ABOUT CAUSAL PROCESSES DECREASES THE USEFULNESS OF SYSTEMATIC EVALUATIVE INFORMATION TO THE ORGANIZATION. PROGRAM EVALUATION, THEREFORE, HAS LITTLE PLACE IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS WHERE IN IT IS FREQUENTLY PRACTICED. IN ADDITION, EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS PROGRAM EVALUATION EFFORTS RUN COUNTER TO SOME OF THE FUNDAMENTAL TENDENCIES DESCRIBED BY ORGANIZATIONAL THEORIES. TO THE EXTENT THAT IT RAISES PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS AND STIMULATES A NEEDED CRISIS OF AUTHORITY, PROGRAM EVALUATION MAY PERFORM A VALUABLE SERVICE. NONETHELESS, THE EVALUATION COMMUNITY WILL NEED TO CONFRONT THE FACT THAT IMPRECISION AND LACK OF SYSTEMATIZATION HAVE IMPORTANT ROLES TO PLAY IN ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING HUMAN SERVICES, SINCE SYSTEMATIC PROGRAM EVALUATION CAN TAMPER WITH SUBTLE NETWORKS OF AUTHORITY, COMMUNICATION, AND CONFIDENCE IMPORTANT TO ORGANIZATIONS' SERVICE DELIVERY. THE CHALLENGE FOR PROGRAM EVALUATORS IS TO DISCOVER THOSE KINDS OF SITUATIONS IN WHICH SYSTEMATIC INFORMATION CAN IMPROVE SPECIFIC PROGRAMS AND ALSO MEET BASIC ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS. REFERENCES ARE GIVEN. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Evaluation; Evaluation of evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Evaluative research; Program evaluation; Testing and measurement
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64400

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