Evaluation Machines




Evaluation Machines

  • Evaluation has become a standing operating procedure. 
  • Evaluation machine – (Peter Dahler-Larsen) a situation where the regime wants evaluation even if it is completely unnecessary. 
  • Evaluation may not be helping problems, but actually creating problems.
  • Evaluiitis – a new disease spreading feverishly, where everything is being evaluated.
  • Performance paradox – in public arena, the more you invest in evaluations and systemic evaluations all the time, cannot guarantee that the policies and programs in the organization are the most effective ones.

Incorporating these insights into evaluation training

  • Learning when these trends take place
  • Discuss and assess these trends and factors
  • Think about how to “fight” them
  • Be resilient

Evaluator’s Resilience

  • Resilience is not only a cognitive-intellectual thing; it is also an in-depth ethical-behavioral approach/style of evaluators – strength in face of organizational difficulties, stress, (soft) power plays, etc., to fight and bounce back, which helps the profession realize goals such as:
    • Collaborating with stakeholders/commissioners while also challenging and criticizing them;
    • Being able to navigate between the demands of evaluation clients and needs of a valid, credible scientific perspective in the evaluation;
    • Knowing how to deal with fake news, cancel culture, and fake handbags (like “selling” Logframes for ToCs).

Examples of insufficient or limited evaluator’s resilience:

  • Doing 1000s of implementation studies finding failures, blunders, etc., but continuing to do them because they are requested and paid for;
  • Claiming to work and test theories of change, while in fact believing them and searching for verification of them;
  • Accepting a stream of “Say-do-behaviors” by Parliaments, governments, agencies, etc.