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Title:The role of context in the practice and use of internal evaluation activities: A case study from business and industry
Author(s):Torres, Rosalie Tourne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Braskamp, Larry A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Business Administration, Management
Education, Administration
Education, Educational Psychology
Education, Business
Abstract:Although analyses and subsequent prescriptions about evaluation use either address-only-one-perspective or segregate--and-categorize several, in practice, facilitating use involves consideration of several perspectives simultaneously. This research provided a comprehensive understanding of the practice and use of internal evaluation activities in a particular context: the management of employee training in a business setting. The organization which served as a field site is a producer of multi-media training courses for on-site use by large organizations. Using an evolving case study methodology, the data collection procedures incorporated observations, interviews, and document reviews in the natural, on-going environment of this company.
The practice and use of activities for the evaluation of employee training was mitigated by a context of constant change and competing priorities. In particular, the company's rapid growth and expansion, and authoritarian management focused decision making about training on needs and solutions, rather than on evaluation and reflection. Evaluation which did occur tended to be informal, largely due to the company's unsystematic training, competing priorities of those responsible for training and its evaluation, and the existence of a quality assurance system which levels.
Influenced by these kinds of contextual factors, internal evaluation has been criticized as suspect and lacking methodological rigor. This study revealed clearly that maintaining quality in internal evaluation is not a matter of working harder to apply a methodology of choice amid overwhelming operational constraints and political influences. Quality is maintained by the internal evaluator who, functioning as a consultant-mediator represents with fairness and sensitivity varying issues and multiple perspectives in an effort to promote empathetic and responsible decision making. Doing so requires specific skills for understanding and managing unique organizational contexts. Those evidenced in this study are (a) establishing appropriate goals for internal evaluation, (b) maximizing rapport, credibility, and trust; (c) raising and representing issues to those in authority; (d) recognizing and valuing the political nature of evaluation; (e) balancing informal and formal evaluation; and (f) maintaining tolerance for ambiguity and incremental change.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Torres, Rosalie Tourne
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9021767
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9021767

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