Evaluation Research

Topics: Evaluation, Program evaluation, Research Pages: 20 (7016 words) Published: October 28, 2014
Chapter 1 Evaluation Research: An Introduction


Chapter 1 Evaluation Research: An Introduction
Organizations, like human-beings and other creatures, must continually learn and adapt to survive and thrive. This process requires the creation of intellectual capital and its management to transform it into organizational intelligence. Thus, organizations which learn, thrive (i.e. achieve their mission and vision); those organizations which do not or cannot learn, die. Organizational leaders and managers must make decisions; accordingly, they must gather, analyze, interpret, and apply information within a context influenced by values, laws, government policy, strategic and tactical objectives, workforce composition (changing demographics, knowledge bases, and skill sets), a hyper-competitive marketplace, and “speed of light” technological transformations. All of these activities must be accomplished quickly or an organization risks its agility and compromises its very survival. The authors argue that evaluation research will enable leaders and managers to efficiently and effectively engage these activities, while considering these multiple influences, leading to high quality decision-making. Because as Rossi, Lipsey, and Freeman (2004, p. 370) write, "Evaluation involves more than simply using appropriate research procedures. It is a purposeful activity, undertaken to affect the development of policy, to shape the design and implementation of social [and other] interventions, and to improve the management of social [and other] programs…evaluation is a political [and technical] activity."

In this chapter we examine an organizational learning model, the role of evaluation research in fostering intellectual capital, and program evaluation.
I. The Learning Organization
A. On the Need to Learn
1. As organizations compete in the 21st century, the conventional wisdom in leadership and organizational development circles is that organizations which fail to continually learn so as to consistently improve efficiency, effectiveness, decision-making, product or service quality, and customer service are doomed to die (Deming, 1986, DiBella, 2001; Liebowitz, 2000; Juran, 1989; Senge, 1990).

2. Peter Senge (1990, p.3) in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Science of the Learning Organization defined the learning organization as, “organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.”

3. According to Senge (1990, p.10), team learning is essential as teams are the “fundamental learning unit in modern organizations.”
a. If teams don’t learn, organizations don’t learn.
b. Teams are composed of individuals. If individuals don’t learn, neither do teams. c. Learning or knowledge is therefore created on both the individual and team levels.

Evaluating Education & Training Services: A Primer


Retrieved from CharlesDennisHale.org

Chapter 1 Evaluation Research: An Introduction


4. If Senge’s argument is correct that the future belongs to organizations which continuously learn and apply that learning to improving organizational culture and performance, then the process for creating organizational intelligence must be understood and mastered.

B. Organizational Learning
(Intellectual Capital + Knowledge Management = Organizational Intelligence) 1. The process of generating organizational intelligence is presented in Figure 1.1. When intellectual capital is properly managed, an organization’s intelligence is raised; thus, the organization learns.

2. Intellectual Capital is (a) the purposeful acquisition of knowledge, (b) ability to apply that knowledge, and (c) the reservoir of experience in applying knowledge to (a) develop, research, and test solutions to organizational challenges; (b) capitalize on...

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