Franziska HeinzeStefanie ReiterUlrike Berg-LupperKatharina WachStepahnie Riedle

Caught between Multiple Action Requests?

Theoretical and Practical Challenges in the Evaluation of Complex
Sociopolitical Programs


Buy article


The evaluation of complex sociopolitical programs remains a diverse and multifaceted practice. In particular, the interplay between stakeholders and evaluators constitutes a core element of such programs. In this interplay, there is a high concurrency of multiple action requests of stakeholders. Yet, there is a lack of theoretically and empirically based knowledge about many of the evaluation’s key concepts, including the handling of multiple expectations and action requests. Precisely defining an evaluator’s role at the beginning of the evaluation process seems to be almost impossible due to the emergent evaluand and the wide range of stakeholders. The article explores the implications of this challenge against the background of hands-on experiences in the evaluation of complex programs by examining three cases. Insights into strategies for dealing with multiple action requests are given and theoretical perspectives are reflected. Based on a critical analysis, the authors argue that rigid roles do not hold in complex evaluation settings.

Complex Sociopolitical Programs, Interaction, Multiple Action Requests, Roles of the Evaluators