The Evaluation-Public Management Nexus: Forging New Directions in Evaluation Roles, Methods and Processes Based on Lessons Learned From Evaluation and Management Practice

Roger K. Przybylski, RKC Group

This paper discusses emerging issues and controversies in evaluation, their implications for contemporary evaluation theory and practice, and the potential that convergence-based evaluation strategies have for building knowledge and and bridging the gap between research and policy/practice. The author describes evaluation's shortcomings as a public management and accoutability tool, and several of the key and at times controversial lessons that have been learned from decades of evaluation practice. Drawing on these lessons learned, as well as common themes concerning implementation fidelity and perfomance measurement found in the evaluation and public management literatures, the author proposes a strategy for enhancing both management practice and the quality and merit of evaluation efforts. A convergence-based evaluation framework that recognizes (1) the inherent relationship between program development, performance measurement and formal evaluationl (2) the importance of evaluability assessment and capacity building, and (3) the role of program theory or logic in both evaluation and management practice, is presented. The key principles underlying the framework and their implications for evaluation roles, methods and processes are identified, as are some of their concomitant controversies.

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Updated 05/20/2006