Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Impact of Outcome Measurement on Non-profit Organizations: A Case Study
by Ortega, Sandra de, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2006, 286; 10835713
Abstract (Summary)

Non-profit organizations have historically focused their efforts on serving the needs of the poor and underserved without being too concerned with documenting and measuring the specific outcomes of their efforts. As competition for resources has grown over the past decade and accounts of mismanagement have become more frequent, philanthropic organizations have realized the need to become more results oriented.

While numerous researchers discuss the issues surrounding outcome measurement, there is a gap in the research on the impact outcome measurement requirements have on non-profit practice. Few researchers have probed the system dynamics between the funder and service staff that promote a results orientation; and fewer still consider the potential for using outcome measurement as an organizational learning tool.

This research enhances the existing literature in a unique respect, as it provides a holistic view of non-profit systems and the way they accommodate outcome measurement by exploring the impact of outcome measurement on non-profit systems in Florida. Data collected from both the non-profit funder and service providers illuminate the barriers and gateways to implementing effective outcome frameworks. Since one tenet of outcome measurement supporters is the information generated from the frameworks facilitates organizational learning, the researchers examine this claim and present the cycle associated with outcome measurement accommodation.

The results indicate outcome measurement has changed non-profit practice. Funders and service providers now spend more resources on technology, data collection, and the acquisition of standardized assessment tools to measure outcomes. Other findings include that; in general, it takes between one to two years before the stakeholders come to a full understanding of how to implement outcome measurement systematically. It is not easy to balance innovation and learning in a compliance- dominated environment. Funders and policy makers often want evidence of success before sufficient time has passed to realize solid results. Progress depends on funders and service providers working together to learn each other's capacity and functions within the framework. Based on these findings, the current research offers several recommendations for further study that will broaden our understanding of how non-profit organizations learn by using outcome measurement systems.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Altschuld, James
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Educational Policy and Leadership
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: Funder, Logic models, Outcome measurement, Outcome measurement system, Project staff
Publication Number: 10835713
ISBN: 978-0-355-96694-7
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