The application of evaluation : an institutional perspective
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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The heart of this thesis is an interpretive rendition of a series of Interviews conducted in various departments of the World Bank and th e U.S. Agency for International Development. These presentations are neither formated as quotations nor as excerpted transcripts. They most definitely are not a 'reporting exercise'. They are a composite of very many things. Besides my personal Interpretations of the interviews, they Include random snatches excerpted from conversation between the respondent and colleagues who would pop their heads around the door during the discussions, inferences drawn from telephone conversations that Interrupted Interviews, observations drawn from the way In which different people Interpreted the basic scenario I presented them with at the start and how they chose to develop the subsequent discussion, and inferences made about what people were actually saying and what they really meant. To that extent, at least, this part of the thesis Is a personal account of a journey through these two organizations. It Is an image gleaned, nothing starting in itself perhaps, but none the less a record of a passage through the lablrynthine corridors of two International development agencies engaged In the field of funding Urban shelter programs in developing countries. Essentially It is structured in three parts. The first introduces the origins of this thesis and discusses some aspects of the "quantitative-qualitative" debate that purports to exist in evaluative theory, arguing for a 'middle of the road' resolution. The second part of the thesis Is a presentation of my Interpretations of the discussions that I had at the Bank and at AID. This Is presented more In the nature of a soliloquy, with an attempt to put myself In the place of the Interviewee, and repay what they said If I had said it. The concluding part then takes a brief look at the theory behind Institutional learning, and attempts to pull out some of the Issues that came out of the interviews, so as to come to a 'conclusion', not necessarily a conclusive conclusion, but a presentation of the Issues residual In my find at the end of this process. This thesis has it's starting point In an Interest in the field of evaluation. In the process of inquiry into this field, In irs relationship to aspects of development and shelter and the Interventions driven primarily by International funding agencies, certain shifts In perspective occurred. The Initial focus of the inquiry was intended to be on the various techniques of evaluation, with the intention of probing, first, for potential linkages between these techniques and the various housing strategies I believed had been espoused over time by international donors. Secondly, it was originally intended to seek to juxtapose the quantitative-qualitative debate, and to inquire into th e relative worth, effectiveness, and contextual appropriateness of each. And finally, it was seen as a vehicle to explore the myriad issues that surround the reality that is the act of project evaluation. In the process of delving into the labyrinthine corridors of the field, two things happened . First came the realization, that technique, per se, is a meaningless phenomenon. It does not matter how its done, what matters Is why and for what purpose. In that sense, at least, the end became more important than the means. It was realized that the primary consequential reason for evaluation was to learn lessons. Or conversely, that the only way to learn lessons was through some process of evaluation, however it may be defined. This realization was followed by a quick dip into literature on the· variOus theories of organizational learning. But soon enough, given the esoterlcity and jargon that veils much of such literature, I was led to question the purpose of institutional learning itself, which was seen to be to improve the long term performance of the organization. This shifted the focus of the thesis to the issue of organizational effectiveness.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1987.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCH.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 79-80).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology