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Friday, September 21 • 10:00am - 10:30am
Visionary, maybe, but how viable? Understanding executive leaders' thinking about evaluation mainstreaming within child and family welfare

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Amanda Jones (Berry Street)

The need within the child welfare sector to understand, evidence and improve programmatic impact is intensifying. Evaluation mainstreaming (EM) holds much promise for meeting that need. EM can be understood to represent a major organisational change endeavour, and also has the key characteristics of a complex innovation. 

Leadership has been identified as a critical factor in both organisational change initiatives and innovation implementation. The Organisational Evaluation Capacity Building (OECB) field also recognises leadership as a key building block in initiating, implementing and sustaining OECB. It is a critical factor in gauging organisational readiness. Executive leadership, specifically, provides critical leverage for this purpose of resetting an organisation towards major change. 

The construct of leadership readiness, however, is not well understood in the OECB literature. We do not know what executive leaders think about mainstreaming during the pre-adoption phase when they first encounter and consider the merit EM. How the context of child welfare practice might mediate executive leader views is also given limited attention.

This presentation explores the thinking of executive leaders about EM within the specific context of a large child welfare organisation within Victoria, Australia. The attitudes, value propositions and other thinking of the entire executive leadership were collected at two points in time: prior to deliberating about EM for inclusion in the forthcoming triennial strategic plan, and following formal plan sign off. 

Findings are useful both for understanding how executive leaders think about the desirability and feasibility of EM, and the nature of readiness to buy-in. The implication for evaluation theory and practice is that the OECB field constructs and assesses leadership too narrowly. It would benefit from unpacking the pre-adoption leadership readiness stage to a greater degree, and drawing on change management and implementation science theory and tools to assist with its conceptualisation and measurement. 

Chairs
avatar for Stuart Raetz

Stuart Raetz

Stuart has over 10 years experience working as an M&E specialist in the Asia-Pacific region. He has consulted across a range of sectors including agriculture, natural resources, climate change, community development and emergency management and has experience working for and with... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Amanda Jones

Amanda Jones

Senior Manager - Evaluation, Policy & Research, Berry Street
I have over 20 years' experience in evaluation, public policy and research for not for profit welfare organisations and government. I have also worked in the private sector in a research capacity consulting to state and local government, and as a manager of a community health counselling... Read More →


Friday September 21, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am
Chancellor 6 Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston

Attendees (13)