Systems Masterclass Session 3: Revealing Core Values The Role of Critical Systems Heuristics

24 April 2024 – Chris Argyris and Don Schön distinguished between ‘espoused values’ and ‘values in use’. Traditionally evaluations are based on, often pre-determined, ‘espoused values’. However, recent influential innovations in systems evaluations such as Developmental Evaluation, Blue Marble Evaluation, Footprint Evaluation and Culturally Responsive Evaluation have started to focus more on revealing and exploring the values that underpin interventions and what that means for the evaluation criteria. Critical Systems Heuristics provide a methodology to explore both kinds of values and the criteria they underpin. It also helps evaluators deliberate on the important boundaries decisions that are made within interventions, as well as the boundaries (e.g. criteria, purpose, focus and framing) chosen by evaluators when evaluating those interventions.

Participants developed a better understanding of the following:

  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help reveal the values that underpin important boundary decisions made by interventions and their evaluations
  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help deliberate on these values and their relationship to developing evaluation criteria
  • How Critical Systems Heuristics can help evaluators reflect on the values that underpin their own evaluation practice.

This session is part of the Masterclass Series on Systems Thinking curated by ECDAN and NORC, accessible here:

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