Understanding Evaluation's Influence on Stakeholders' Attitudes and Actions at a Social Services Organization

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Understanding Evaluation's Influence on Stakeholders' Attitudes and Actions at a Social Services Organization

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2021-06

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Research and discussions of evaluation use have a long history in the field of evaluation. Recently, discussions of evaluation use have expanded to include the concept of evaluation influence in an attempt to better understand the impact of evaluation through a variety of approaches. Much of the existing research on evaluation use focuses on how and under what conditions evaluations are used by stakeholders. However, to date, limited research on evaluation influence exists and less is known about the specific ways in which evaluation may influence stakeholders’ attitudes and actions. This study focused on building an understanding of how stakeholder attitudes and actions towards evaluation change as a result of being involved in an evaluation process. An exploratory qualitative approach and case study design was used. The case was a single social services agency. An evaluation of the social service agency’s employment program took place. Participants involved in the study were interviewed before and after the evaluation took place to better understand how they were using evaluation and their attitudes towards evaluation. This study found evaluation influenced stakeholders in multiple ways at the individual, interpersonal, and collective levels. The research demonstrated 1) people recognize the value of evaluation, but in different ways; 2) evaluation is more than just about the results, the process matters; 3) evaluation influences participants at multiple levels of an organization; 4) participating in an evaluation does influence stakeholders’ attitudes towards evaluation in positive ways; 5) evaluation is important in facilitating communication among key stakeholders; and 6) evaluation has the potential to influence future evaluation activities.

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University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2021. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisors: David Johnson, John LaVelle. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 182 pages.

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Anderson, Lindsay. (2021). Understanding Evaluation's Influence on Stakeholders' Attitudes and Actions at a Social Services Organization. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/224540.

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