Today, evaluation is part of governing systems and is supported by powerful institutions. It is taken for granted that evaluation leads to betterment. However, evaluation itself is seldom analyzed from a critical perspective. In this book, Jan-Eric Furubo and Nicoletta Stame have assembled an international line-up of distinguished experts and emerging scholars to fill this void. 

Examining evaluation from a critical – or evaluative – perspective, each contribution in this book offers a systematic and critical insight into the broader relationship between evaluation and society. Divided into three parts, the various chapters ask questions such as:

  • What are the consequences of the institutionalization of evaluation?
  • Has the professionalization of evaluators favored their action in the public interest? 
  • Is the money spent on evaluation worth it? 
  • Is the market of evaluation allowing real competition for the best services? 

The answers to these questions demonstrate that the constitutive effects of the social practice of evaluation can also be the suppression of other forms of knowledge and the favoring of certain notions about societal development and political and administrative processes.

part I|2 pages

From Program Evaluation to the Evaluation Society

chapter 1|29 pages

Understanding the Evaluation Enterprise

ByJan-Eric Furubo

chapter 2|26 pages

The Politics/Administration Dichotomy and Evaluation

ByNicoletta Stame

chapter 3|23 pages

The Skeptical Turn in Evaluation

ByPeter Dahler-Larsen

part II|2 pages

The Evaluation Enterprise

chapter 4|28 pages

From Law to Reality

A Critical View on the Institutionalization of Evaluation in the Swiss Canton of Geneva’s Parliament
ByKatia Horber-Papazian, Christian Rosser

chapter 5|15 pages

Evaluation Overload and Evaluation Underload

ByRolf Sandahl

chapter 6|33 pages

Accountability’s Two Solitudes and the Questions It Raises

Accountability to Whom? By Whom? And for What?
ByBurt Perrin

chapter 7|18 pages

Italian Evaluation Policy

Centralization and Judicially Enforced Accountability
ByMita Marra

part III|2 pages

The Management of the Enterprise

chapter 8|19 pages

Getting Value for Money?

A Critical Analysis of the Costs and Benefits of Evaluation
ByKim Forss

chapter 9|23 pages

The Journey to a Professional Designation for Evaluators in Canada

ByMarie-Hélène Adrien, Lauren-Victoria Hellrung

chapter 10|22 pages

The Concerted Effort to Professionalize Evaluation Practice

Whither Are We Bound?
ByThomas A. Schwandt

chapter 11|23 pages

The Commercial Side of Evaluation

Evaluation as an Industry and as a Professional Service
BySteffen Bohni Nielsen, Sebastian Lemire, Christina A. Christie

chapter |7 pages


Towards a Better Understanding of the Evaluation Enterprise
ByJan-Eric Furubo, Nicoletta Stame