Responding to resistance to evaluation in organisations.
The Dynamics of Evaluation series sets out to provide a space in which we can explore the bigger landscape of evaluation where workshop participants can name and discuss issues associated with evaluation activities, beyond those of methodology.
Looking further than being just a ‘pair of expert hands’, this series of workshops considers how to identify the different roles given, or taken up by evaluators, some of the tensions and conflicts that might arise and how to move beyond these to ensure evaluations are truly useful, and supportive of change when this is required.
Responding to resistance in organisations
The second of our three 2016 workshops will examine the nature of resistance that often arises during an evaluation, from a range of perspectives including: those of staff, commissioners or funders of agencies, programmes and projects that are being evaluated, those of the evaluators themselves, and of those beyond the immediate and more obvious stakeholders. Evaluation activities may provoke feelings of fear and anxiety akin to or even the same as those experienced around performance appraisal. Commissioners and funders sometimes mismatch their desire to know ‘what works’ with that of keeping track of ‘what happens’ on the ground for the purposes of accountability and management. And evaluators may be caught in an emotionally demanding place where they do not fully understand any resistance they meet or the unspoken questions that they find themselves unable to answer.
Resistance is not always a bad thing! The perceived demands placed on organisations to deliver evidence of what they do and their resistance to how this should be done may provide the opportunity to embed impact measurement in their strategy in ways which will be helpful to them, the funder and to demonstrate wider accountability.
Whichever the case, uncovering and understanding our own and others’ resistance is important for effective evaluation. Following this with the development of strategies, e.g. acknowledging common problems, developing open dialogue and providing options for debriefing, is one way in which resistance becomes a ‘door-opener’ rather than leaving it firmly shut.
16 November 2016: Responding to resistance in organisations
Workshops take place at The Tavistock Institute from 4.00 – 6.00pm
Cost: £35 + VAT