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Evaluation in management by objectives: a critical analysis of Sweden’s national environmental quality objectives system
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sociologiska institutionen. Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER). (UCER)
Umeå universitet, Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för tillämpad utbildningsvetenskap, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER). (UCER)
2016 (engelsk)Inngår i: Evaluation, ISSN 1356-3890, E-ISSN 1461-7153, Vol. 22, nr 2, s. 190-208Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates what can be achieved by one particular management by objectives system – i.e. the Swedish National Environmental Quality Objectives system and its evaluation function. A critical programme theory analysis is first developed to reconstruct the programme theory of the National Environmental Quality Objectives system. Next, the robustness of the programme theory is analysed in terms of internal consistency, theoretical support and empirical support. The results indicate that, while some assumptions underlying the National Environmental Quality Objectives system are valid, the National Environmental Quality Objectives’ programme theory has low validity in several respects. The evaluative knowledge the system produces is only partly relevant to or useable by local actors and industry. While the state of the environment is observed and measured in the monitoring and evaluation reports, the direct effects of environmental policy and work are not evaluated, which is a main weakness of the National Environmental Quality Objectives system. It is unlikely that the current evaluation function can effectively support achievement of the National Environmental Quality Objectives environmental objectives. The article suggests that evaluations in support of network governance are more likely to support National Environmental Quality Objectives achievement and sustainable development.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2016. Vol. 22, nr 2, s. 190-208
Emneord [en]
evaluation function, management by objectives, National Environmental Quality Objectives system, program theory analysis, the validity of the National Environmental Quality Objectives
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
sociologi; statskunskap
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-119543DOI: 10.1177/1356389016638751ISI: 000374584600005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-119543DiVA, id: diva2:922366
Tilgjengelig fra: 2016-04-22 Laget: 2016-04-22 Sist oppdatert: 2018-06-07bibliografisk kontrollert
Inngår i avhandling
1. National environmental evaluation systems: guiding towards sustainability?
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>National environmental evaluation systems: guiding towards sustainability?
2018 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Background: Dealing with environmental threats is one of the largest, if not the largest, challenge contemporary societies face. One way to better deal with this challenge would be to produce knowledge that can be used to improve environmental work and environmental policy and thus ultimately contribute to sustainable development. National environmental evaluations, which this thesis explores, could potentially fill this function because they are supposed to generate applicable and useful knowledge for improving environmental policy and practice for a sustainable transition. However, what different environmental actors view as useful knowledge varies, and needs to be empirically investigated. Against this background, the aim of this thesis is to investigate whether, and how, national environmental evaluation systems contribute to key actors’ environmental work and sustainable development. The thesis explores two national environmental evaluation systems in Sweden.

Method: A mixed methods approach is applied that combines three methods. Firstly, a narrative synthesis is developed and applied to compile a list of sustainable development effects from national environmental evaluations. Secondly, a critical program theory is used to investigate the evaluation system’s underlying logic and to assess the likelihood of it achieving its intended effects. Thirdly, a directed content analysis is used to explore the usability and use of environmental evaluations and evaluation systems. The methods are applied to various documents, interviews with key actors, and observations at two environmental seminars.

Results: The results show that, to contribute to sustainable development in the context of evaluation systems and network governance, environmental evaluations need to be of sufficient quality and meet different stakeholders’ knowledge needs. However, only some evaluations meet this demand. The main value of national environmental evaluations and evaluation systems is that they reinforce the national objectives, provide a recurrent report on achievement of objectives, and push actors to take responsibility to improve their environmental work.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2018. s. 71
Serie
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 80
Emneord
environmental evaluation, evaluation systems, evaluation use, sustainable development, program theory, stakeholders, environmental policy
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147745 (URN)978-91-7601-897-2 (ISBN)
Disputas
2018-06-11, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:15 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2018-05-21 Laget: 2018-05-17 Sist oppdatert: 2018-06-09bibliografisk kontrollert

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