Title

Integrating Evaluation and Needs Assessment: A Case Study of an Ergonomics Program

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2016

Abstract

This case study focuses on the relationship between evaluation and needs assessment and how both processes were integrated in one project. The project involved evaluating a 10-year-old ergonomics course. The course was one component of a broader organizational change initiative, aimed to reduce or eliminate on-the-job injuries. The success of the change initiative depended on applying knowledge from the course as well as other workplace variables, such as management commitment, plant communications, and the relationship between management and union labor. Robert Stake's (1967) countenance framework was modified to consider both instructional and performance issues in the research design. Data collection included observing the course, conducting focus groups with past course attendees who were ergonomic committee members, interviewing ergonomic teams in manufacturing plants, and reviewing course materials and other related documents. The findings illustrate the overlap between the needs assessment and evaluation processes. The discussion addresses how these labels can limit perception of the system of interest, the importance of adapting the research design to take advantage of naturally occurring organizational events, the value of integrating both needs assessment and evaluation perspectives, and the importance of differentiating evaluation and needs assessment recommendations.

Publication Name

Performance Improvement Quarterly

Volume Number

29

First Page

51

Last Page

69

Issue Number

1

DOI

10.1002/piq.21214

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