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Authors

Cohen

Abstract

There is an assumption of an inherent rationality in linking information on program effectiveness to program change. This article briefly discusses three typical evaluation studies and demonstration projects that fail to link information generated on the effectiveness of what people do, to program changes. Perceived inaccuracy of the information and the perceived threat of the information are emphasized as two reasons for this failure of program information to affect change in social organizations. A pre-planning functional information base is proposed as an important prerequisite in the sequence of creating a more receptive environment for organizational change.

It is often assumed that information on the effectiveness of what an organization does will e utilized to improve those programs. In social organizations these program changes are expected to provide more effective service to clients. This assumption of an inherent rationality linking information on program effectiveness to program change has led o a multitude of evaluation studies and demonstration projects to provide information on program effectiveness.

A review of actual cases of evaluative research and demonstration projects often does not substantiate the assumption of an inherent rationality in linking information to policy formation.

This paper will briefly review three typical case studies that fail to link newly generated program information to policy change. It will suggest two major reasons for this failure and then outline a pre-planning functional information base as an important prerequisite in creating a more receptive environment for program information to affect policy changes in social organizations.

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