Co-creating our story: A hybrid participatory case approach to evaluating and accelerating organizational change

Published: January 2021

Type: Publication

A hybrid participatory case approach to evaluating and accelerating organizational change

Tanya Beer
Anne Puente HS

In response to a wave of public critique and pressure, social sector organizations appear to be embarking on organizational culture change efforts at an unprecedented level.

Much of this public critique and pressure is a reaction to the ways in which these organizations lack diversity and perpetuate inequitable practice, whether consciously or subconsciously. A spate of articles has reported that demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants to support organizational change initiatives is at an all-time high.

The Center for Evaluation Innovation’s most recent research into trends in philanthropy found that 56 percent of foundations with endowments of more than $10 million were undergoing or had undergone within the last three years an intentional process to shift organizational values toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Sixty-one percent reported going through an organizational restructuring.  These initiatives can either move an organization toward becoming one that is more effective and draws on everyone’s lived experience and wisdom or they can result in in greater distrust and division.

When brought into these efforts, evaluators can either help the change effort be more equitable, co-generated, and sustainable or fail to use a participatory approach and make things worse.

This brief describes an evaluative approach we took to an organizational change process at a foundation that could be useful to evaluators. We acknowledge that we carried out this work using an inclusion framework but not a DEI one; however, we share it with the hopes that evaluators may be able to build on it in their work.

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