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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Amy M. Gullickson
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation
Title: Mainstreaming Evaluation: Four Case Studies of Systemic Evaluation Integrated into Organizational Culture and Practices
Dr. Nicholas Andreadis, Chair
Dr. Chris Coryn
Dr. James Sanders
Date: Monday, October 4, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Audrey Riebel Lounge, Lee Honors College, Room 1010
Following a literature review, the researcher generated a descriptive theory of evaluation mainstreaming, the integration of systematic evaluation into the culture, systems, and job responsibilities of organizations. The researcher then explored the validity and generalizability of the theory in grant-funded Advanced Technological Education Centers using mixed methods research. Four centers were chosen based on quantitative survey responses, which suggested that the organizations were likely to be mainstreaming evaluation. For each center, the researcher conducted a site visit, interviews and document review to understand (i) the processes by and extent to which evaluation became part of everyday operations; (ii) the characteristics of the leaders and culture that made the integration of evaluation possible; and (iii) the organizational capabilities, systems, structures and practices that have made evaluation sustainable, effective, and useful.
In this dissertation, the researcher presents the descriptive theory, as well as the four individual case studies and cross case analysis through which the theory was explored and refined. Key findings support the existence of three streams and six developmental stages of evaluation within organizations, and the importance of (i) leaders who possess characteristics of personal vision and commitment to the truth about current reality; (ii) organizational culture in which staff and partners have shared vision and values; (iii) organizational capabilities such as prioritizing, strategic staffing, team functioning, and creating collaborative external partnerships to listen and learn; and (iv) organizational systems to acquire, analyze, disseminate and utilize evaluative information. Specific evaluation practices of each center are also presented. Future research should test the descriptive theory of mainstreaming evaluation in broader organizational contexts.