Evaluation of Large-scale Public Sector Reforms: A Comparative Analysis

Karen Nielsen Breidahl, Gunnar Gjelstrup, Hanne Foss Hansen, Morten Balle Hansen

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Abstract

Research on the evaluation of large-scale public sector reforms is rare. This article sets out to fill that gap in the evaluation literature and argues that it is of vital importance. The impact of such reforms is considerable. Furthermore they change the context in which evaluations of other and more delimited policy areas take place. In our analysis we apply four governance perspectives (rational-instrumental, rational-interest based, institutional-cultural and a chaos perspective) in a comparative analysis of the evaluations of two large-scale public sector reforms in Denmark and Norway. We compare the evaluation process (focus and purpose), the evaluators and the organization of the evaluation as well as the utilization of the evaluation results. The analysis uncovers several significant findings including how the initial organization of the evaluation show strong impact on the utilization of the evaluation and how evaluators can approach the challenges of evaluating large-scale reforms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Volume38
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)226-245
Number of pages20
ISSN1098-2140
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Keywords

  • Evaluation
  • Reform
  • Public Administration

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