Evaluating micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) development programmes in Mexico : a practical participatory approach
This thesis is about a participatory approach to evaluation of development programmes for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Mexico. It advocates the use of intangible factors (stakeholders' claims, concerns and issues) and the participation of stakeholders in the process of evaluation. This evaluation approach could complement conventional approaches used to evaluate programmes for MSMEs in Mexico. In considering these ideas, this research explored the evolution of evaluation identified by Guba and Lincoln and noted some of the problems faced in the evaluation of programmes for MSMEs (e.g. absence of clear objectives, difficulties in expressing the objectives in quantifiable measures and inappropriateness to deal with social behaviour inquiry). This research proposed a shift towards a qualitative evaluation approach and developed a Situationally Responsive Practical Participatory Evaluation (SRPPE) approach. This approach relied upon the accommodation of Guba and Lincoln's Fourth Generation Evaluation and Patton's Utilization-focused evaluation. In this sense, the term accommodation refers to the integration of their methodologies from a practical point of view and their use in parallel from a theoretical point of view. The SRPPE approach considered the claims, concerns and issues (CC&I) of the programme stakeholders as inputs of the evaluation. These refer to the favourable and unfavourable assertions related to the programme and to the declarations of disagreement between stakeholders of the programme. The CC&I are used to analyse components such as decision-making, political, learning and characteristics of the evaluator. The output of the evaluation process promotes conceptual, symbolic and instrumental uses of the evaluation. This approach was tested using a constructivist and interpretivist methodology in which the nominal group technique and focus groups were used to collect information. The information was analysed and interpreted by following a qualitative approach and case studies were used to describe the structure and outcomes of the evaluation of two Mexican programmes for MSMEs. The findings of the research project suggested that an evaluation approach which considered intangible factors helped to understand the programmes, revealed the different views stakeholders had, unveiled conflicts due to different stakeholders' interests and provided a guide towards programme improvement.