A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation

A Practitioner Handbook on Evaluation

Elgar original reference

Edited by Reinhard Stockmann

This comprehensive Handbook serves as an excellent reference manual providing answers to virtually every conceivable question that can arise during the planning and implementation process of an evaluation.

Chapter 3: Competing and Complementary Approaches to Evaluation

Reinhard Stockmann

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, environment, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, research methods in social policy, social policy in emerging countries, sociology and sociological theory


Reinhard Stockmann As we said at the beginning of this book, evaluation is more than a special form of applied social research, although it does make use of the latter’s theories and methods. Outside the world of science, evaluation is used mainly in the public sector, which features little direct competition and is not profit-oriented. Public institutions, foundations, associations and non-profit organizations of all kinds use evaluation to optimize their planning and management and for the examination of the achievement of aims, effectiveness and sustainability of the services they provide or the measures, projects and programmes they implement. Evidence can thus be provided of how successfully policies and strategies were actually implemented. In the private sector, where competition and the pursuit of profit predominate, evaluation is hardly used as a management and quality assurance instrument. Instead, organizations mainly have recourse to concepts and instruments which have their origin in business management, some of which serve purposes similar to those of evaluation. For this reason they are increasingly being ‘discovered’ by non-profit organizations and utilized in the pursuit of their objectives. As some of these instruments, such as controlling (section 3.1), the balanced scorecard (section 3.2), benchmarking (section 3.3) and auditing (section 3.4) are used – sometimes complementing evaluation – for corporate management or for the rational management of public programmes and institutions, they will be introduced briefly here. The emphasis is on the presentation of the conceptional bases and not on the application of the various approaches, which either compete with evaluation...

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