1 Department of Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School
Changing Focus to Improve Theory
This article is about evaluation use. It focuses on the well-known paradox that evaluation is undertaken to improve policy, but in fact rarely does so. Additionally, the article also finds that justificatory uses of evaluation do not fit with evaluation’s objective of policy improvement and social betterment. The article explains why the paradox exists and suggests applying organizational institutional theory to explain evaluation use. The key argument is that in order to explain all types of evaluation uses, including non-use and justificatory uses, the focus needs to be on the evaluating organization and its conditioning factors, rather than the evaluation itself.