ERIC Number: ED204385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Mandarins and Lemons--The Executive Investment in Program Evaluation.
The author contends that within executive government, which already has all the information it needs to make decisions, program evaluation is seen as a symbolic rather than a substantive enterprise. If it is assumed that program evaluation is an end of policy, not a means, the reasons for government investment in evaluation include: (1) no choice; (2) the only alternative is consultation with organized stakeholders with conflicting agendas (3) it keeps critics occupied; (4) the presence of specialist evaluators discourages non-specialist scrutiny of a program; (5) it buys time to defuse the concern that made the program investment necessary; (6) it will discourage subversive behavior within the funded constituency; (7) it signals the executive's openness to evidence; (8) it is sure to be rendered innocuous; or (9) someone else may fund an evaluation of their program. Executives use various strategies for downplaying evaluation, and the use of case studies has many appealing features in this regard; but, executives are turning away from case study methodology because case study evaluators are able to construct vindicative portrayals of a program, frequently questioning the adequacy of the policy formulation. (BW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Evaluation Utilization; Great Britain
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (65th, Los Angeles, CA, April 13-17, 1981).