Enhancing Evaluation Use: Insights from Internal Evaluation Units

Marlène Läubli Loud , John Mayne

John Mayne’s summary (especially for MandE NEWS!)

“The idea for the book was that much written about evaluation in organizations is written by outsiders such as academics and consultants. But in practice, there are those working ‘inside’ an organization who play a key role in helping shape, develop, manage and ultimately make use of the evaluation. The contributions in this book are written by such ‘insiders’. They discuss the different strategies used over a period of time to make evaluation a part of the management of the organization, successes and failures, and the lessons learned. It highlights the commissioners and managers of evaluations, those who seek evaluations that can be used to improve the strategies and operations of the organization. The aim of the book is to help organizations become more focused on using evaluation to improve policies, strategies, programming and delivery of public and communal services.

The chapters cover a wide range of organizations, from government departments in Scotland, new Zealand, Switzerland and Canada, to international organizations such as the World health organization (WHO) and the International labour organization (ILO), to supra-national organizations such as the European Commission.

The book discusses such issues as:

  • The different ways evaluation is set up—institutionalized—in government sectors / organizations, and with what results;
  • why it is so hard to make evaluation a regular aspect of good management;
  • building organizational cultures that support effective evaluation;
  • strategies that are being used to ensure better value for money and enhance utilization of evaluation findings in organizations; and
  • how organizations balance the need for timely, relevant evaluation information with the need for scientific integrity and quality.

The insider perspective and the wide scope of organizations covered is unique in discussion about evaluation in organizations.”


Vic Murray, University of Victoria, 2004. Available as pdf

Abstract: This paper reviews the underlying theoretical bases for the evaluation of organizational performance. It then examines representative samples of empirical research into actual evaluation practices in a variety of nonprofits in Canada, the U.S. and Britain. Some of the most popular tools and systems for evaluation currently recommended by consultants and others are then reviewed. Looking at this prescriptive literature, it is shown that, by and large, it takes little account of the findings of empirical research and, as a result, its approaches may often prove ineffective. An alternative that attempts to integrate the research findings with practical tools that has value for practitioners is then be suggested.


It is a perplexing, but not uncommon, phenomenon in the world of nonprofit organization studies how little connection there is between the work of those who offer advice on how organizations in this sector might become more effective and that of those who carry out formally designed empirical research into how these organizations actually behave.  Nowhere is this gap between  “how to” and “what is” more apparent than in the field of performance assessment and evaluation.