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Using developmental evaluation methods with communities of practice

Van Winkelen, C. (2016) Using developmental evaluation methods with communities of practice. The Learning Organization, 23 (2). ISSN 0969-6474

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1108/TLO-08-2015-0047


Purpose This research explored the use of developmental evaluation methods with community of practice programmes experiencing change or transition to better understand how to target support resources. Design / methodology / approach The practical use of a number of developmental evaluation methods was explored in three organisations over a nine month period using an action research design. The research was a collaborative process involving all the company participants and the academic (the author) with the intention of developing the practices of the participants as well as contributing to scholarship. Findings The developmental evaluation activities achieved the objectives of the knowledge managers concerned: they developed a better understanding of the contribution and performance of their communities of practice, allowing support resources to be better targeted. Three methods (fundamental evaluative thinking, actual-ideal comparative method and focus on strengths and assets) were found to be useful. Cross-case analysis led to the proposition that developmental evaluation methods act as a structural mechanism that develops the discourse of the organisation in ways that enhance the climate for learning, potentially helping develop a learning organization. Practical implications Developmental evaluation methods add to the options available to evaluate community of practice programmes. These supplement the commonly used activity indicators and impact story methods. 2 Originality / value Developmental evaluation methods are often used in social change initiatives, informing public policy and funding decisions. The contribution here is to extend their use to organisational community of practice programmes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:57345
Uncontrolled Keywords:communities of practice, evaluation, developmental evaluation, action research, knowledge management, learning organization


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