Evaluating in a Fragmented Society

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Ernest R. House

Abstract

Background: Over decades American society has become increasingly fragmented, distrusting, and unequal. Distrust and inequality interact with institutions performing improperly to weaken the society.


Purpose: To suggest ways to strengthen evaluation’s role in a changing society


Setting: Evaluation has entered a post normal phase where evaluations are losing credibility and effectiveness.


Intervention: Analyze the changing society and suggest adjustments that evaluators might make.


Research design: Collate and synthesize empirical studies about society and the implications for evaluators.


Data collection and analysis: Collect and interpret seminal empirical economic, sociological, and political studies of beliefs and inequality in the United States.


Findings: To strengthen the potency of evaluations of any type, evaluators could act as moral fiduciaries, practice transparency, cultivate cognitive empathy, focus on deep stories and deep values, and mitigate inequalities in the evaluation space. They can act as critics of evaluation practices inside and outside the evaluation space. They should avoid technical, social, and situational biases, including racism, sexism, and conflicts of interest, to increase the honesty and credibility of evaluations. They should not allow career concerns to prevent them from doing the right thing. These professional ethics and practices can be applied singly or collectively to most evaluation approaches to strengthen the evaluator’s role and address major societal problems.


Keywords: moral fiduciary; cognitive empathy; post normal; inequality; transparency; distrust; deep stories; values

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How to Cite
HOUSE, Ernest R.. Evaluating in a Fragmented Society. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, [S.l.], v. 16, n. 36, p. 26-36, aug. 2020. ISSN 1556-8180. Available at: <https://journals.sfu.ca/jmde/index.php/jmde_1/article/view/653>. Date accessed: 30 oct. 2020.
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