What is evaluation about?

As our company develops software to support evaluations, we talk a lot to customers about evaluation and what purpose it serves. Over the years we found out that this varies very much per organization and even between countries.

For some evaluation is seen as a threat. I vividly remember one session a couple of years ago, with a senior government official of a country in Southern Europe (sorry guys for this stereotyping). He stated that ‘evaluation is dangerous’ and that all evaluation results should be destroyed as soon as possible after an exercise. His main argument was that the evaluation results would be used as a tool for political games.

For others it is seen as an opportunity to learn. Again, this time a senior government official from a Northern European country, who stated that it was the tool to enhance the learning capabilities of the organization. In this context the evaluation results are used for reviewing internal procedures, policies and training courses.

At Enquirya we are careful not to judge as both approaches co-exist. However, in terms of business we do have a strong preference for the second approach as it much more positive and fulfilling for the customer and us. In addition, it is easier to implement as it will meet lesser resistance that the first (Machiavellian) approach.

What is your organizations’ approach to evaluation?