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Title: Use of evaluations in international nongovernmental organizations from a field perspective Do Learning Organizations show increased use?
Authors: Goor, RC van
Issue Date: 14-Sep-2014
Publisher: Open Universiteit Nederland
Abstract: This thesis explores the factors contributing to the use of evaluations in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from a field perspective and answers to the question if organizations with more learning characteristics show increased use of evaluations to adapt programs. To get to the answers, literature on the use of evaluation and Learning Organizations was studied and reviewed. A survey was conducted among field based senior NGO managers. Two existing survey instruments were used; one was developed by Karan (2009) to determine factors influencing evaluation use. The other one was developed by Marsick and Watkins (2003) and Yang (2004) to measure learning characteristics of NGOs. The combined survey was answered online using SurveyGismo by 68 respondents representing at least 20 different International NGOs, 85% of them with headquarters in Europe and all with operations in low income countries across the world. Use of evaluations can be categorized according to their type of use and grouped under instrumental (direct use of findings to adjust program or policy), conceptual (contribute to generate new knowledge and understanding), process (participative process leading to learning and ownership) and legitimize (justify pre-existing preferences and actions). Different types of intended use tend to use different methodologies and approaches for the actual evaluation process; from scientific-experimental approaches to participant-oriented approaches. Factors influencing use determined in previous research are categorized under human factors (intended users, interests and biases and professional capabilities), evaluation factors (evaluation procedures, substance of information and reporting) and organizational factors (organizational culture, routines and procedures). These factors influencing use of evaluation were consistent with the most important determinants for use by the field based NGO managers in the survey carried out for this thesis. However a statistical regression of the factors influencing the use of evaluations to adapt programs revealed that only one factor, „available time and money‟, was significant with R2 is 0,09 (F= 6,78, p<0,05). Learning Organizations have characteristics that can be described by four dimensions on the people level (Continuous learning, Inquiry and dialogue, Team learning and Embedded systems) and three level on the structural level (Empowerment, System connection, Strategic leadership) of organizations. Using the DLOQ (Dimensions of Learning Organizations Questionnaire) survey results respondents were divided in two groups, one group with “more learning characteristics” and one group with “less learning characteristics”. Cronbach‟s alfa (α) was 0,83 demonstrating a good internal consistency and item reliability for the 21 items measured in the instrument. The most important difference between the two groups could be noted in the existence of an organization wide process to follow up on evaluation findings in NGOs with more learning characteristics (67% compared to 45%). Also respondents from NGOs with more learning characteristics are more likely to use evaluation recommendations to adjust programs (80% compared to 45%). A linear regression of the average score on Learning Organization characteristics revealed that there is indeed a positive relation; higher scores on Learning Organization characteristics leads to higher use of evaluations to adapt programs (R2=0,17, F=13,19, p<0,05). The overall conclusion of this thesis is when intended use and users are determined and elaborated from the designing phase of an evaluation, the actual use by intended users is more likely to happen. Organizations making time and money available are more likely to use evaluation to adapt their programs. Learning Organizations or organizations with stronger learning characteristics are better positioned to ensure the actual use of evaluations.
Appears in Collections:MSc Management Science

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