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Evaluators and Hawthorne Effect in Assessments

Monitoring and evaluation is concerns the collection as well as assessment of data about a particular program, project or organization. Evaluations are undertaken for a number of reasons including: to establish the level of compliance with certain rules, procedures and laws, to expound on the knowledge base (which is basic research), to assess the point an entity is in at a specific period (status assessment), and to determine the effectiveness of a given project/program (effectiveness measurement).

Evaluations can be conducted by an external or internal group or a combination of both, the choice being made depending upon the ultimate objective of the evaluation. Internal/Participatory evaluators; these evaluators come the organizations management hierarchy. They could be program, project or organizational managers themselves.

Advantages: the benefits of doing an evaluation using internal evaluators include; project/ program/ department staff feel less threatened generally, the evaluation tend to be less expensive, the evaluation is more likely to address pertinent management issues directly, and as result the results are likely to be used by managers. Disadvantages include: there is a great risk of biasness in evaluation as the evaluators are supposed to vet their own work and processes (they are tempted to over-credit their departments/projects).

In addition to

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this, the managers-cum-evaluators may engage in discriminatory evaluations and even discredit good performance of some of their subordinates for a wide range of reasons (Doh, 2005). External evaluators: These are derived from outside the organization and are usually considered as outsiders and thus deemed neutral, and work as per a defined scope of work. The criteria for selection is that they should be having considerable knowledge of the processes in the areas they are to perform evaluation.

Advantages; they are more likely to give a fair reflection of the organization/department/project/program situation because the likelihood of bias in evaluation is highly reduced. In addition, expert and experienced evaluators can be hired who, will greatly improve the reliability and credibility of results especially by third parties (Doh, 2005). Disadvantages; the outsiders may not be in good tune with the actual processes that are unique to a particular department or organization and hence might come up with incorrect recommendations.

Furthermore, an enterprise risk loosing its competitive secrets to rivals because the integrity of the outside evaluators can not be guaranteed. Also, the outside evaluators might do a shoddy job as the level of accountability and the sense of responsibility is highly likely to be low. Mixed internal/external evaluators/mixed teams; A team of evaluators is appointed from both within the department/project/ program and from without the department/project/ program.

The advantage of a mixed team is that it combines all the advantages available for external and internal evaluations done separately. The advantages are though not as strong as those achieved by individual teams. In terms of disadvantages, this approach is the best as it minimizes the disadvantages brought about by the two groups working separately (Gill and Johnson, 2009). Subject Matter experts;

These are evaluators who have high level of expertise by virtue of long experience in the field or highly specialized training in a particular subject of concern that is desired to be studied. The major advantage of using these experts for evaluation process is that, these experts are likely to carry out the evaluation process in a manner that comprehensively cover all aspects of the department, program, project or even an entire organization, some of which the procurers of the evaluation service may not have been aware of their existence.

Disadvantages; the use of services of experts is usually expensive and may not automatically translate into success of the evaluation program. In addition, there is a significant chance that the experts may be out of tune with the reality about a specific department/program organization and in the process come up with generalized recommendations that would be impractical to the specific department or organization.

Workers may also be intimidated by these experts and feel threatened hence in the presence of these experts perform extremely well as compared to their normal working styles, resulting into wrong evaluation and recommendations. Hawthorn effect; It is an observed increase in worker productivity that is caused by the automatic psychological stimulus of being singled out and made to feel important. Conducting an evaluation by use of internal evaluators is likely to raise a significant level of hawthorn effect among the appraisees.

This level would be much lower than the level that would be experienced in the use of both external and Subject Matter Experts (the highest level would be experienced here) because the appraisees in the case of employees feel that the evaluators already know them well from the long contact the two parties have had in the course of working together (Gill and Johnson, 2009). The significant level of Hawthorne effect experienced would come naturally because of the inherent hope for a promotion in every employee.

Hawthorne effect would be highest in the case of use Subject Matter Experts as the level of perceived importance among appraisees derived from being studied by experts is deemed to be high, resulting into a higher level of performance. References Doh, J. (2005). Handbook on responsible leadership and governance in global business?. MA: Edward Elger Publishing Inc. Gill, J. , & Johnson, P. (2009). Research methods for managers. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

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