Online Program

Rigor and practicality: Striking the right balance in organizational capacity assessments

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Joanna Krause, Center for Global Health and Developmet, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Background - Millions are spent on capacity building efforts in development but there is limited concrete evidence proving the effectiveness of these efforts.

Methods – We compared 24 free, publically available organizational assessment tools. Each tool was categorized by methodology for conducting the assessment, type and number of individuals participating, subjective versus objective lines of questioning, type and number of organizational domains, the use of compound indicators, and whether or not reassessment is part of the process or leads to next steps. The areas of categorization mentioned here are the components used in a final comparative analysis of these tools on their scientific rigor and practicality.

Results- Organizational assessment tools vary, both in time and manpower required to complete the assessment process (practicality) and the reliability and scientific rigor (rigor) of the measurement instruments. Tools included in the analysis scored between 0 and 9 on the Practicality continuum, with 0 being the most practical and from 1 to 12 on the Rigor continuum with 12 being the most rigorous.

Discussion - Organizational capacity assessment should be a continuous process utilizing rigorous instruments which can provide replicable results. Assessments take up time and resources and there needs to be a balance between reducing cost without compromising a rigorous process. Given the significant amounts of money being invested in capacity building organizations and donors should be encouraged to undergo the organizational assessment process with a tool which will accurately identify areas needing improvements and consistently track changes in these areas over time.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between organizational development tools with differing degrees of rigor Compare capacity building tools

Keyword(s): Organizational Change, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the literature review and data analysis that resulted in this paper
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.