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Bridging theory and practice: challenges to stakeholder evaluation applied to programmes for exposed groups
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science. (UCER)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation addresses new challenges to evaluation of policies and programmes in multi-cultural societies. These include being responsive to stakeholders’ knowledge needs, informed about different perceptions of the issues at stake, being sensitive and respectful to exposed persons’ needs, feelings and cultural backgrounds and to actors designated official mandates (Stake, 2004). The presenter discusses the value of using an interpretive stakeholder evaluation approach (Hanberger, 2001) and bridging theory and practice to meet these challenges. He takes departure in deliberative democratic and multi-cultural theory (Banting & Kymlicka, 2006; Conner, 2004; House and Howe, 1999; Hanberger, 2006, 2010; Hood, 1999; SenGupta, Hopson, & Thompson-Robinson, 2004). As an example, the stakeholder evaluation approach, developed by the author and applied in a number of evaluations, is here applied on a local reception system for unaccompanied children in Sweden. Some actors engaged in the reception of unaccompanied children are prescribed or assume a caring role (caring homes and good man/trustee) whereas others are assigned an official mandate (Migration board, schools). It is argued that the evaluators should not only be sensitive to the exposed persons’ needs and situation, but also to the different roles and mandates of service-deliverers and the broader accountability environment (Behn, 2001). The evaluation of reception of unaccompanied children is an example of challenges that become visible in contested policies targeting exposed individuals and groups with varying needs and cultural backgrounds, involving many actors with individual and shared responsibility and where cooperation and network governance is critical. The case illustrates that evaluators need to be responsive to different perceptions of the issues at stake, develop different skills and competences including major notions of a multicultural society (Hanberger, 2010) to manage the challenges. A single evaluator can hardly do this alone, but an evaluation team can collectively manage these challenges. Hence, evaluation becomes relational work and a humanist enterprise when bridging theory and practice.

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Social Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94051OAI: diva2:752237
11th European Evaluation Society Conference, Dublin
Available from: 2014-10-03 Created: 2014-10-03 Last updated: 2014-10-03

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