The Advantages and Limitations of Evaluation

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Reflect on and evaluate the advantages and limitations of a range of evaluation techniques.  Explain reasons why some evaluation strategy /approach might experience successes and failures.  Justify an evaluation approach/purpose that is appropriate for the nature of your business /organisation and, the extent of success of the strategy against evaluation criteria.

Evaluation is a process that critically examines a program and determines its worth and what’s working, what’s not and why. It involves collection and analysis of information about a program’s activities, characteristics and outcomes. Its main purpose is to create judgements about a program’s quality and to increase its effectiveness. Generally, evaluation can help improve the layout of a program and its implementation. It can also demonstrate a program’s success or progress. Evaluation determines the value of learning and training programs and acts as layouts or blueprints for judgement and improvement. There are two main categories of evaluation techniques; formative and summative evaluations techniques.

Formative evaluation takes place during the development of a concept or program with the intention of improving the value and effectiveness of the program. It is a method of judging the worth of a program while the program activities are ongoing. Formative evaluation is at times referred to as internal evaluation and they are informal in nature. Formative evaluations permit managers to monitor how well the instructional goals and objectives are reached. They are used to measure how well the program is proceeding and if there are necessary changes to be made. They are also used when starting a new program and assists in the early phases of program development.

 Formative evaluation is further subdivided into two; needs assessment evaluation and process or implementation evaluation. Needs assessment determines who needs the program, how great is the need, and what best can be done to meet the need.  It can help determine what audiences are not currently being served by the program and provide insight into what characteristics the program should have to meet these audiences’ needs. Process or implementation process focuses on program implementation that is, how a program was carried out and how it works or operates. Its goal is to see if the program is meeting its set objectives. It includes how a program is delivered, services it delivers and how it was carried out. It determines the reasons for a program’s success or failure and also determines if specific strategies were carried out as planned. It is used to; determine why changes occurred in the established program, to address inadequacies in program delivery and to correctly portray the programs’ operations to outside parties.

There are more advantages of formative evaluation technique than the limitations. The advantages include; they develop knowledge and skills of those involved in the program. It is beneficial as it plans for future where any methods used in the program can be changed. Assists individuals in enhancing their performance and giving successful outcomes. Promotes continuous improvement as it is an ongoing process. The complex factors within the program are identified with this evaluation. It provides quick feedback based on the conflict management and resolution work capacity. Offers documentation with the working status and techniques to be used in the program. Helps in the setting of goals and plans and enhances opportunity for reconsidering program goals and plans. Acts as a complex intervention in complex settings.

The limitations of formative evaluation technique include: It is time consuming and requires lots of resources because there is need for frequent data gathering, analysis reporting and refinement of new implementation. It is a tiring process because of the planning and exercising plans. Requires trained and qualified professionals to carry the evaluation successfully. Difficulty in determining the change in the intervention at certain outcomes. It is not appropriate for conflict resolution as improves work and is not an end by itself. Funding limitations as they are quite expensive to implement. Results are tied to implementation.

Summative evaluation draws lessons from a completed action, project or program at a later point i.e. the focus is on the outcome.it is a method of judging the worth of a program at the end of its activities. They are the most common and they are formal. In summative evaluation, there are various methods used to correct data. They are; questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations and testing. They consider effectiveness of the program as a whole and gives suggestions on how to make it better. They are used to; provide information on program effectiveness, help decide on whether to continue or end a program, determine whether a program should be expanded to other locations or not.

Summative evaluation is further subdivided into two; outcome evaluation and impact evaluation. Outcome evaluation measures the short term impact of implementing a program. It gives information on how well the program is reaching the target audience and is also able to assess the changing attitudes and knowledge of the target audience. It is used to focus on the changes in comprehension, attitudes, behaviors and practices that result from program activities. It is also used to determine whether the program affects participant outcomes and to establish and measure clear benefits of the program. Impact evaluation measures the programs effects and the overall effectiveness of realizing the goals of the program. It focuses on long term sustained changes as a result of the programs activities(positive/negative and intended/unintended).Long term evaluations give broader, more complete view of outcomes of the program thus being more effective than those that evaluate immediately or after a program. They tend to be more expensive due to the time frames involved.

The advantages of summative evaluation outweighs the limitations. Here are some of the advantages: They help to know if the target audience understood the program. They determine achievement as they are done at the end of a given period. They are used to measure a program’s improvement towards the set objective and goals. They are used to make business records such as end of year sales records. They provide a learning opportunity to those involved in the program. They boost individual’s confidence as they act as a springboard to certain behavior change at the work place. Training success can be measured as it determines the success of methods used in the program. They are tools for evaluation as they have the capability to evaluate the usefulness of any program. It is used as an evaluation technique in the course of instructional design as it offers beneficial information. It helps measure performance of those involved in the program. Gives a better understanding of the program as it gives both quantitative and qualitative methods. Benefits the program as an individual can find out if their program has reached the set goals and objectives and also helps to quantify changes in resources. Assists in comparing the effect of various projects which leads to result based decisions.

The disadvantages of summative evaluation technique include: It delays rectification or corrections as it focuses on the end results. It is disruptive as some individuals face the summative evaluation with nervousness and fear. There is no remedy as nothing is done to identify hindrances or challenges in advance. They lack reliability and validity and consistency. They lack authenticity as there are chances that summative evaluation measures wrong aspects.

There is another evaluation technique known as planning evaluation but it’s not commonly used. Planning evaluation focuses on concepts and how the target audience will understand them. It is performed before the development of a given program that is, it comes before the formative evaluation technique and the summative evaluation technique.  It is not formal. The advantages of planning evaluation technique include; it is quite important as it can eliminate working on a program that has little demand or will be too difficult for the target audience to understand. It is useful for future development projects and should be considered as part of the program’s design research process. It also identifies who stakeholders of the program will be. It evaluates the entire evaluation’s scope, purpose and focus. It defines data and selects the data collection system you want to use. It also plans the method you want to use to analyze the collected data and decides how to measure the validity and value of the information you collect. Helps authorized personnel create action plans by synthesizing and utilizing the combined data into a conglomerate of information. The disadvantages of the planning evaluation technique include; it leads to probable results and not assured goals. It is time intensive and may cause delays in taking decisions. Time, money and effort are required in the collection analysis of data and in the formulation and revision of plans. Lack of accurate facts and information about the future. Another limitation is that there are various alternatives to solve certain problems, that is, every alternative has its own merits and limitations. The planning evaluation technique may be greatly influenced by external forces.

The evaluation technique that is mostly used at Encore Care Homes is Summative evaluation as the projects are evidence’ and result based. An example to prove the use of summative evaluation is the ‘Encore Program Evaluation Report Spring Semester 2018’ where 62 surveys were conducted to evaluate the creativity amongst older adults in the various care homes. Encore Care Homes also depend on personal reviews of people who have directly or indirectly experienced the services of the various care homes e.g. children of those receiving senior care in the homes. They also depend on financial performance reviews. The long term care patient assessment is another proof of use of summative evaluation by Encore Care. For Encore Care, summative evaluations work because the organization is involved in many projects and is more concerned with the end results of those projects (profitability and the impact of the care provided) It also works for us as there are many participants in the organization.

My personal opinion based on my understanding of the various evaluation techniques is that, Encore care should also incorporate planning evaluation technique and also formative evaluation technique. For example by incorporating the planning evaluation in formulating the survey questions they would have known if the target audience understood their projects or programs. Unplanned operations will surely result to chaos and disorder. By using formative evaluation, Encore Care will develop knowledge and skills of those involved in the programs and also improve the outcome of their various projects. In spite of me supporting the other two evaluation techniques, I feel that all techniques of evaluation should be applied by Encore Care Homes in order to give it a competitive edge over other private and public care homes in South England and the entire world.

3.4: Identify the degree of fit between an organisation’s strategy and its structure

 Organizational strategy is a plan of how an organization will use its resources or a plan of action that aims at reaching the set goals of an organization. Organizational structure refers to how the pieces of an organization fit in together internally, in other words, it is a term used to describe how an organization is organized. For an organization to work meet its objectives and reach its set goals, the structure and strategy must work together. Structure and strategy are dependent on each other. They are related because a company’s organizational structure is based on the findings of the analysis of organizational strategy

It is mostly viewed that ‘structure follows strategy’ but in truth, the relationship is not linear and one directional. The influence between strategy and structure can be complex and flow in both directions. Take an assumption where an organization with an emergent strategy; here the structure determines who is involved in decision making. So here strategy is caused by structure. Let’s take a case where strategy shapes structure; in an integral approach to organizational structure design, a common question is asked: what strategic goals will the structure help to reach? The view that strategy follows structure is largely based on the idea that the existing managers within an organizational structure will take the structure for granted and only consider strategies that will fit the existing structure.

The organizational structure is more than an organization chart or hierarchy. It is all the people, positions, procedures, processes, culture, technology and other related elements that make up the organization. The structure must be fully integrated with the organizational strategy for the organization to achieve its missions and goals. It takes the right structure for a strategy to succeed. A decision to change one requires the organization to change the other.

Encore Care’s organizational structure consists of a chief executive officer, financial director, marketing manager and a head of people. Encore Care’s organizational structure’s link to its strategy has been advantageous in many ways. The link has greatly improved planning which has in turn led to reduced costs of operations such as building costs of homes. Provides a framework for decision making that is, it has facilitated the process of decision making as everyone within the organization understands their roles and responsibilities. The link has also enhanced the efficiency of managerial functions. It helps save time as all activities are conducted in an orderly and coordinated manner in order to achieve the common goals of the organization. There is increased output as employees are highly motivated. The link has also enabled Encore Care to keep up with the rapidly changing technological trends such as use of Facebook to advertise their various homes. The disadvantages resulting from the link include; At times when you change either organizational structure or organizational strategy, you have to change the other. For example, if the marketing manager was to be removed, the marketing strategies of Encore Care Homes will have to change.

My overall view on this subject is that removal of one will lead to failure of the other so the link between organizational structure and organizational strategy should be maintained and observed at all costs. After all, the advantages of the link outweigh the disadvantages.

References

Guyot, W.M. (1978). Summative and Formative Evaluation. The Journal of Business Education.54 (3):127-129.

Pancer, S.M. and Westhues, A. (1989) A Developmental stage Approach to Program Planning and Evaluation. Evaluation Review, 13: 56-77

UK Essays. November 2013.Strategy and structure in Organizations. [online]

Zheng, Wei, Baiyin Yang and Gary N. McLean. (2010) Linking Organizational Culture Structure Strategy and Organizational Effectiveness: Mediating role of Knowledge Management. Journal of Business Research, 63(7).763-771.

October 24, 2023
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