Lunchtime talk by Giorgia Iacopini, Senior Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
It is not uncommon for an evaluator to experience client / stakeholder resistance to an evaluation. However, the possible reasons behind that resistance, how it can manifest itself and the impact it can have on the evaluator role and on the evaluation work are perhaps not always discussed. Through the lens of a recent evaluation project that the Tavistock Institute was commissioned to undertake, Giorgia Iacopini presents an experience of what it can mean to intervene in an organisation with an evaluation. It provided a reflection on some of the dynamics evaluator-client that can be set up from the beginning of an evaluation process and that, if not attended to, can define a difficult client-evaluator dynamic throughout the evaluation process. Drawing on learning about organisations and change and on TIHR’s principles of group dynamics and systems thinking, the talk explored the following questions in particular:
How can we explain resistance and anxiety to evaluation?
How can they manifest themselves and what impact can they have on the evaluator role?
How do evaluators contribute to a difficult client-evaluator dynamic?
What interventions can be helpful to manage evaluator-client dynamics and ensure the quality of work?
Giorgia Iacopini is a Senior Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. She works extensively and regularly with the public sector including central and local government and community and voluntary sectors, undertaking impact and process evaluations of a number of large and smaller programmes. Her work cuts across a variety of policy areas, with a particular interest in community cohesion, the prevention of violent extremism and partnership working. She has also recently graduated from the Tavistock Institute’s Practitioner Certificate in Consulting and Change (P3C) programme.