The changing role of the evaluator in the process of organizational learning

< Back to: Volume 20 - 2005 - Spring
Authors :
Pages:
81-104

In this article we examine the role of the evaluator in the process of organizational learning, and discuss the conditions necessary to facilitate the productive execution of such a role and the consequent ramifications for evaluation. First, we describe the process of organizational learning as presented in the literature of organizational learning. Second, we examine the demands that process presents to evaluators. Third, we discuss organizational learning within the context of participatory evaluation, and then explore the role of the external learning agent. Finally, we present some major changes in the role of the evaluator, changes that stem from the very nature of the organizational learning process. The focus on organizational learning transforms the role of the evaluator to one of knowledgeable facilitator who returns responsibility of the operation, development, and evaluation back to the project/program or organization. We conclude by acknowledging the difficulties involved in changing the traditional role of the evaluator, particularly in giving up control of the evaluation to the stakeholders and letting the organization become the "owner" of the evaluation process and knowledge, leaving the evaluator the important role of facilitator. The evaluator is responsible for the procedures of learning — providing tools and monitoring the learning that goes on. The learning content is the responsibility of the organization and not of the evaluator. While we do not preclude the traditional role of the evaluator, we do suggest a significant change in the procedures involved in evaluation, in the skills required to conduct effective evaluations within the organizational context, and in the ownership of the knowledge that emerges from such evaluation.

Log in to post comments