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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Wesley A. Martz
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation
Title: Toward Evaluating Organizational Effectiveness
Dr. K.C. O’Shaughnessy, Chair
Dr. Michael Scriven
Dr. Liliana Rodriguez-Campos
Date: Monday, June 30, 2008 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
4410 Ellsworth Hall
If organizations are to survive and achieve long-run viability, they must be effective. Yet organizational effectiveness evaluation has been limited by a variety of factors—especially the ambiguity surrounding the concept of organizational effectiveness itself. The long-established approaches used by organizational theorists to define organizational effectiveness have emphasized different perspectives with respect to the organization type and degrees of importance of the various constituency groups comprising the organization. Moreover, definitions of the organization and organizational effectiveness have focused primarily on the dissimilarities among organizations and their constituencies, conceding efforts to identify commonalities. This has led to increased fragmentation of the concept of organizational effectiveness and weakened its utility. Because of its central importance to both researchers and management practitioners, among many other organizational participants, the development of a practical tool that overcomes the deficiencies and challenges in current approaches to organizational effectiveness evaluation is of theoretical and practical value.
This dissertation addresses the lack of satisfactory approaches for assessing organizational effectiveness and offers an alternative framework using an evaluation checklist. The Organizational Evaluation Checklist (OEC) outlines a comprehensive process for evaluating organizational effectiveness that specifically addresses the values issues with its inclusion of universal criteria of merit. Two separate investigations were conducted to empirically validate the OEC. The first investigation sought input from subject matter experts and targeted users regarding the merit of the OEC. The second applied the revised OEC in a real-world evaluation to assess the effectiveness of a for-profit organization. Both investigations were keyed to a common set of criteria to evaluate and improve the checklist. The original OEC performed well with respect to its pertinence to organizational effectiveness evaluation, clarity, fairness, and sound theory. The most significant structural change made to the OEC was intended to facilitate the efficient use of the checklist and increase its parsimony. Implications for organizations and the professional practice of evaluation are discussed, along with opportunities for future exploration.