Evaluating Social Service Agencies: Fuzzy Pictures of Organizational Effectiveness

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Abstract

This article presents a case study of how members of three funding organizations evaluated the same two agencies in Canada. The research on which the article is based sheds light on the “organizational effectiveness” construct, on the ways in which the evaluators use it to reach conclusions on agency effectiveness, and the relation between these conclusions and funders' decisions on agency funding. The authors describe a framework for understanding evaluation processes, describe three funders in terms of this framework, set out predominant patterns in evaluation processes the funders used, and show the effects of these patterns from the agency's perspective. They then discuss the implications of the findings for agency managers and how the findings relate to theories of organization.

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