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ERIC Number: ED204385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Mandarins and Lemons--The Executive Investment in Program Evaluation.
MacDonald, Barry
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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: 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).