1st Edition

Changing Bureaucracies
Adapting to Uncertainty, and How Evaluation Can Help

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 30, 2020
ISBN 9780367608040
November 30, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

USD $155.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In Changing Bureaucracies, international experts provide an unparalleled look at how public sector bureaucracies can better adapt to the reality of unprecedented levels of uncertainty and complexity, and how they can better respond to the emerging needs and demands of citizens and beneficiaries. In particular, they discuss in detail how evaluation can play an important role in aiding bureaucracies in adapting, while noting that the value of evaluation is not at all automatic.

Written in a clear and accessible prose, the contributors identify stability as a strength of bureaucratic structures, although adaptability is required in order to remain relevant. They also emphasize the need for bureaucratic rules and practices to be open to examination, such as through evaluation, noting that these rules may take on a life of their own, increasing distrust and conflicting with a meaningful focus on how outcomes and impacts benefit citizens. The book concludes with guidance for both evaluators and for public sector leaders about steps that they can take to improve the responsiveness and relevance of public sector organisations.

Pioneering the provision of reflections on how evaluation can play an important role in aiding bureaucracies in adapting, Changing Bureaucracies is an important acquisition for public sector leaders, evaluators, evaluation managers and commissioners and academics alike.

Table of Contents


Kathryn E. Newcomer

1. Introduction: Changing Bureaucracies - Thoughts on the Dynamic Relationship between Evaluation, Bureaucracy, and Adaptability

Tony Tyrrell

Part 1: Working within bureaucratic constraints

2. Feedback in Public Agencies: A missing Engine of Organizational Learning?

Karol Olejniczak & Jakub Rok

3. Evaluation, bureaucracy, and agility: an African Story

Jacques Toulemonde, Samer Hachem, & Penelope Jackson

4. Accountable for adaption: How independent evaluation can support adaptive programming within bureaucracies

Andrew Koleros

5. The Public Support of Radical Innovation

Margaret Dalziel

Part 2: Evaluation support to bureaucracies

6. Evaluation in Bureaucracies: An Insider’s View on Progress in the last 25 years and Challenges Ahead

Veronica Gaffey

7. You can take a horse to water, but how do you get it to drink? Evaluation as a facilitator of organizational adaptation and change in the OECD

Kevin Williams

8. The View from the Top: Reflections on evaluation in large bureaucracies by a select group of senior evaluation managers

Richard Boyle & Tony Tyrrell

Part 3: Challenges to a meaningful role for evaluation 

9. Evaluation systems and bureaucratic capture: Locked in the system and potential avenues for change

Estelle Raimondo & Frans L. Leeuw

10. Responses to decline: The persistence of quality problems

Kim Forss & Alison Pollard

11. The European Cohesion Policy: Who cares about results?

Francesco Mazzeo Rinaldi

12. Conclusion: The problematique of bureaucracy and what this means for evaluation – and for public sector leaders

Burt Perrin

View More



Burt Perrin is an independent consultant and recognized leader in the evaluation field internationally, with publications including evaluation and bureaucracy, meaningful ap-proaches to accountability. how to make evaluation useful, and evaluation of innovation. He has over 40 years’ practical experience assisting governments and other organizations internationally, more recently providing expert advice and quality assurance regarding planning, evaluation management and activities, and related services.

Tony Tyrrell is an independent consultant with more than 25 years’ experience in evaluation and related fields. Tony worked in public administration in Ireland and managed EU funding programs before working with a number of private consulting firms in policy evaluation and program management. He spent six years with the Independent Evaluation Group at the World Bank in Washington D.C. before returning to Ireland from where he currently works as an independent consultant with a range of clients. Tony holds an MA in English Literature and an MSc in Management (Organization Behavior).