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ERIC Number: EJ932829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1098-2140
Policy Workaround Stories Are Valuable Evaluative Indicators: But Should They Be Told?
Campbell, David
American Journal of Evaluation, v32 n3 p408-417 Sep 2011
In evaluating local policy implementation, workaround stories--accounts of deliberate efforts to evade, subvert, or even break rules or procedures in order to get the job done--are valuable evaluative indicators. By "backward mapping" (Elmore, 1979) from frequently mentioned workarounds, we can identify flawed elements of policy- or grant-making systems. However, workaround stories captured in confidential interviews pose an ethical dilemma for evaluators. If reported intact, these stories potentially expose their tellers to repercussions from compliance-oriented superiors in the bureaucratic chain of command. But unless these stories--in all their vivid details--are told, it is less likely that those superiors will be motivated to fix the often intricate implementation problems which create the need for workarounds in the first place. We explore options for resolving this dilemma in light of the American Evaluation Association guiding principles and the trade-off between the competing public goods of innovation and accountability. (Contains 1 table and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Workforce Investment Act 1998