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Strategy has emerged as a watchword of modern change efforts. Callsto be strategic are sounded in the private sector,government, philanthropy, and the not-for-profit sectors.Management experts stress the importance of strategic thinking.Change agents are urged to act strategically. Strategic planninghas long been a mainstay of organizational development. Leaders inall sectors talk not about theories of change or logicmodels, but about being strategic: Strategic thinking. Strategicplanning. Strategic results. ...
Strategy has emerged as a watchword of modern change efforts. Callsto be strategic are sounded in the private sector,government, philanthropy, and the not-for-profit sectors.Management experts stress the importance of strategic thinking.Change agents are urged to act strategically. Strategic planninghas long been a mainstay of organizational development. Leaders inall sectors talk not about theories of change or logicmodels, but about being strategic: Strategic thinking. Strategicplanning. Strategic results. Being strategic. Strategy execution.Effective strategies. Adapting strategically. And, now,evaluating strategy. But strategy is a new unit of analysisfor evaluation. Traditionally, evaluation has focused on projects,programs, products, policies, and personnel. What does it mean totreat strategy as the evaluation focus, as the thing evaluated'What is strategy? How does one evaluate strategy? What arethe implications of this new direction for evaluation theory,methods, practice, and, ultimately, use? This issue examines thesequestions and provides examples of strategy-focused evaluations.Evaluating strategy is not about evaluating strategic planning, oreven strategic plans. It's about evaluating strategy itself.Strategy is the evaluand. That poses new challenges and offers newopportunities to meet the information needs of evaluation users.For evaluation to be relevant to decision makers and leaders, thefocus of the evaluation must be on what they are concerned aboutand what they care about. Increasingly, they care about identifyingand implementing effective strategies. That's where evaluationenters the picture. Evaluating strategy has the purpose of makingstrategy more effective, differentiating effective from ineffectivestrategies, and contributing to the ongoing development andadaptation of strategy in response to changing conditions andreal-world complexities. Evaluating strategy is a new direction forevaluation, one that is likely to take on increasing importance—ifevaluators learn to do it well. This issue takes up that challenge.
This is the 128th volume of the Jossey-Bass quarterly reportseries New Directions for Evaluation, an official publication ofthe American Evaluation Association.
EDITORS’ NOTES (Patricia A. Patrizi, Michael QuinnPatton).
1. Strategy as the Focus for Evaluation (Michael QuinnPatton, Patricia A. Patrizi).
This chapter examines what it means to treat strategy as the unitof analysis and focus for evaluation.
2. Strategy Evaluation: Experience at the InternationalDevelopment Research Centre (Tricia Wind, FredCarden).
This chapter explains how IDRC uses strategic evaluations, andexplores potential implications for evaluation of HenryMintzberg’s ideas on tracking strategy.
3. Death Is Certain, Strategy Isn’t: Assessing the RobertWood. Johnson Foundation’s End-of-Life Grant Making(Patricia A. Patrizi).
This chapter discusses a retrospective evaluation of the RobertWood Johnson Foundation’s 20-year strategy to improve care atthe end of life.
4. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Devolution Initiative:An Experiment in Evaluating Strategy (Kay E.Sherwood).
Informed by the perspective of evaluation as a strategicintervention, this chapter revisits evaluation of a major andcontroversial government reform, welfare devolution, and aphilanthropic foundation initiative that mobilized around thereform’s implications, including external evaluation of thatinitiative.
5. Strategy Evaluation: Emerging Processes and Methods(Patricia A. Patrizi).
This chapter distinguishes prospective and retrospectiveevaluations of strategy, and offers lessons on framing a strategyevaluation, determining strategy boundaries, and data collectionand analysis.