1st Edition

Can Governments Learn? Comparative Perspectives on Evaluation and Organizational Learning

Edited By Frans L. Leeuw, Ray C. Rist, Richard C. Sonnichsen Copyright 1999
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    There is continual concern about the ability of governments to perform the duties and responsibilities that their citizens have come to expect from them. Many citizens view government as inept, arthritic, and dedicated to the preservation of the bureaucratic status quo. As we close the twentieth century, the challenge for democratic governments is to become adaptive, flexible, innovative, and creative. In short, they need to become learning organizations. This book explores what it will take for governments to break out of their traditional ways of approaching problems and leam new approaches to finding solutions.Can Governments Learn? examines organizational learning in the public sector. It seeks to understand what role policy and program evaluation information can play in helping governments to learn. Among the democratic societies that are studied are Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. Their governmental systems have produced and learned from evaluation information in quite different ways. Significantly, the studies documented here show that the concept of organizational learning has vitality and applicability cross-nationally.Can Governments Learn ? evaluates preconditions for governmental learning as well as the institutional and human resource factors that contribute to the process. This is the third volume in the comparative policy analysis series. It is essential for policymakers, government officials, and scholars interested in improving the performance of governments.

    Introduction: Evaluations and Organizational Learning: International Perspectives Frans L. Leeuw and Richard C. Sonnichsen, Part I National Perspectives, 1 Utilizing Evaluation in Organizations: The Balancing Act John May ne (Canada), 2 Learning from Evaluations: The Swedish Experience Jan-Eric Furubo (Sweden), 3 Policy Evaluation and the Netherlands’s Government: Scope, Utilization, and Organizational Learning Frans L. Leeuw and Piet J. Rozendal (The Netherlands), Part II Institutional Perspectives, 4 Organizational Learning at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management John A. Leitch and Ray C. Rist (United States), 5 Formative Evaluation and Organizational Learning: The Case of the Belgium Postal System Philippe Spaey and Fabienne Leloup (Belgium), 6 Effective Internal Evaluation: An Approach to Organizational Learning Richard C. Sonnichsen (United States), Part III When Do Governments Learn?, 7 Facilitating Organizational Learning: Human Resource Management and Program Evaluation Marie Louise Bemelmans-Videc (The Netherlands) Bjarne Eriksen (Norway) Edie N. Goldenberg (United States), 8 The Preconditions for Learning: Lessons from the Public Sector Ray C. Rist (United States), Contributors, Index


    Frans L. Leeuw is director of the Division of Policy Evaluation Research at the Netherlands Court of Audit. He coedited What Has Dutch Sociology Achieved? and has written for the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation.Ray C. Rist is Evaluation Advisor at The Economic Development Institute of The World Bank. He has been director of the Case Studies Program at the United States General Accounting Office and has taught at major universities in the United States.Richard C. Sonnichsen is deputy assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in charge of the office of planning, evaluation, and audits. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California, Washington Public Affairs Center. His evaluation interests are in the areas of internal organization, evaluation, and the utilization of evaluation results.