Organizational Assessment: A Framework for Improving Performance

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IDRC, 2002 - Business & Economics - 202 pages
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The inability of development agencies to understand and improve the performance of the organizations they support continues to impede progress in the developing world, even after a decade of reforms. Strengthening the institutions that receive those grants and loans -- including government ministries and executing agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations -- has become the key to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of development assistance.

This book offers a clear-cut methodology to diagnose institutional strengths and weakness at the onset of development activities. In this way, beneficiaries can respond to growing pressures from donor governments and organizations for accountable and sustainable use of development funding. The authors examine all aspects of organizational performance, including the enabling environment, institutional capacity, management, financial viability, and staff motivation. They also review the methodological issues involved in carrying out an assessment, ranging from the choice and framing of questions to data collection and analysis, the question of who "owns" the assessment, and the reporting of results.

Designed for practitioners interested in organizational diagnosis and social change, this book includes a quick guide for organizational assessment, a sample report outline and questions, and a comprehensive assessment glossary.

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Page 146 - Empowerment evaluation is the use of evaluation concepts, techniques, and findings to foster improvement and self-determination (Fetterman, 2001; Fetterman, Kaftarian, & Wandersman, 1996).
Page 187 - For example, subjects may be asked to indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree with a set of items by checking a 7-point scale in which 1 represents "strongly disagree", and 7 represents "strongly agree".
Page 74 - How do you do it? How long will it take? How much will it cost?
Page 97 - We've learned . . . that the soft stuff and the hard stuff are becoming increasingly intertwined. A company's values— what it stands for, what it> people believe in— are crucial to its competitive success. Indeed, values drive the business.
Page 166 - I have been disappointed that most research on organizations focuses on structure and stability rather than emergence and change. By ignoring the question of origins, researchers have also avoided the question of why things persist.
Page 190 - A characteristic that can assume any one of a range of values. Variables can be nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio.
Page 3 - In this dynamic context — the institutional environment — organizations and the groups that comprise them are constantly trying to adapt, survive, perform and influence. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they do not. The question then becomes, how can organizations better understand what to change and influence to improve their ability to perform? Systematic diagnosis is an important part of this process, and there are many ways to conduct such an organizational examination.
Page 2 - As organizations evolve and try to succeed, they adapt to their environment and to technical developments. This often leads to increased specializations of functions, people and infrastructure. As organizations specialize their functions and the infrastructure required to maintain and carry out those functions, they require greater interdependence with the various work groups. In other words, specialization increases complexity. Organizations are...
Page 2 - Organizations are not only composed of individuals, but also interdependent groups with different immediate goals (derived from specialization), different ways of working, different formal training, and even different personality types. People who work in accounting departments often have very different personalities, goals, training and styles of work and socialization than do people who work in advertising or marketing departments (Meyers and Briggs, 1980).
Page 165 - Indeed, the evaluation of development aid should focus in part on the extent to which development agencies have used their resources to stimulate the policy reforms and institutional changes that lead to better outcomes.

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About the author (2002)

Charles Lusthaus is a partner at Universalia Management Group in Montréal, Canada. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Administration and Policy Studies at McGill University in Montreal.

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