Evaluation and stakeholding development

Reynolds, Martin (2010). Evaluation and stakeholding development. In: The 9th European Evaluation Society International Conference: Subject strand: Tools and Methodologies, 6-8 Oct 2010, Prague, Czech Republic.

URL: http://www.czech-in.org/cm/ees/CM.NET.WebUI/CM.NET...

Abstract

Drawing on a significantly updated version co-authored by Reynolds and the originator of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH), Werner Ulrich, CSH is regarded as part of a ‘systems thinking in practice’ framework for evaluating complex situations from different stakeholder perspectives. The situation under evaluation (e.g. a purposeful activity like a report, programme or project etc.) is framed as a reference system in CSH by a toolbox comprising four sets of questions evaluating (1) built-in values, (2) power structures, (3) expert assumptions, and (4) the moral basis on which an intervention operates as considered from the perspective of both intended beneficiaries and victims. This paper describes how CSH and the underpinning methodological process of boundary critique makes a contribution to Michael Patton’s ideas on developmental evaluation. The focus here is on stakeholding development. CSH addresses three evaluation questions. It maps out (i) what’s at stake in relation to (ii) who the stakeholders are - including intended beneficiaries, decision makers, experts, and ‘victims’ (those affected by but not involved with what is being evaluated). CSH further addresses questions of (iii) stakeholding issues as key problems anticipated for each stakeholder group. The metaphor of ‘conversation’ is used to describe how boundary critique helps the process of stakeholding development as against stakeholding entrenchment.

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