Date of Award

8-1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Second Advisor

Dr. Subhash Sonnad

Third Advisor

Dr. Jim Sanders

Abstract

There are many obstacles for human service organizations in evaluating programs. Some of these barriers are the difficulty in defining human behavior and the change that needs to be evaluated, human service programs that take a long time to show results, agency capacity to do evaluation, and cost (Young, Hollister, Hodgkinson, & Associates, 1993). Another subtle yet powerful influence on the practice of evaluation in nonprofit organizations may be organizational culture (Schein, 1990). If an organization is going to employ self-evaluation, an organizational culture may be needed that will support such efforts. This study was designed to assess the relationship between organizational culture and the practice of program evaluation in a selected group of nonprofit organizations. Three questions were addressed in the study: (I) What are the organizational cultures exhibited by human service organizations? (2) What are the program evaluation practices exhibited by human service organizations and (3) What is the relationship between organizational culture and the practice of program evaluation in human service organizations?

A survey was administered and interviews were conducted with participants of 26 human service organizations in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Survey data were analyzed to answer the three research questions as listed above. Interviews provided emic data that developed an understanding of evaluation practices and organizational values.

Organizational culture data included information about client satisfaction, quality service, leadership, communication, decision making, planning, and visioning. Evaluation practice data included information about formative, summative. and general evaluation practices. Formative program evaluation practice is the evaluation practice that most organizations conduct, with the development of general evaluation knowledge second, and summative evaluation practices last, but all three practices were found to be moderately high across all organizations. High correlations were found with some aspects of organizational culture.

Recommendations include (a) further studies with more levels of the organizations to gain a broader view of existing organizational cultures, (b) more training and support to develop the capacity of organizations to do summative evaluation, and (c) controlled studies to further investigate the relationships of certain aspects of organizational culture with evaluation practice.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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