The Evaluation Society
Evaluation—whether called by this name, quality assurance, audit, accreditation, or others—is an important social activity. Any organization that "lives in public" must now evaluate its activities, be evaluated by others, or evaluate others. What are the origins of this wave of evaluation? And, what worthwhile results emerge from it? The Evaluation Society argues that if we want to understand many of the norms, values, and expectations that we, sometimes unknowingly, bring to evaluation, we should explore how evaluation is demanded, formatted, and shaped by two great principles of social order: organization and society. With this understanding, we can more conscientiously participate in evaluation processes; better position ourselves to understand many of the mysteries, tensions, and paradoxes in evaluation; and use evaluation in a more informed way. After exploring the sociology and organization of evaluation in this landmark work, author Peter Dahler-Larsen concludes by discussing issues that are critical for the future of evaluation—as a discipline and a societal norm.
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activities analysis audit society becomes bibliometric bureaucratic complex concept consequences constitutive effects context contingency critique Dahler-Larsen Danish decision defined definitions of evaluation democracy democratic Denmark effects of evaluation environment evaluability assessment evaluand evaluation capacity evaluation criteria evaluation culture evaluation machines evaluation process evaluation systems evaluation wave example factors field of evaluation focus function goals human idea ideal implementation important indicator system individual institutional theory institutionalized interpretation interventions knowledge learning cycle learning organization learning-oriented legitimacy Leviton logic loosely coupled managerial meaning measure modern society neorigorism norms organization’s organizational learning organizational recipes organizational theory outcomes participatory particular perspective political practice problems procedures produce professional QWERTY rational organization reality reflexive modernization relevant responsibility Rigsrevisionen risk ritual Schwandt Shadish side effects situation social construction social imaginary sociological sometimes specific stakeholders structures teachers thinking Thousand Oaks understand value catalogue