How to normalize reflexive evaluation? Navigating between legitimacy and integrity

Lisa Verwoerd*, Pim Klaassen, Barbara J. Regeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While hybrid evaluation practices are increasingly common, many Western countries continue to favor modernist evaluation logics focused on performance management—hampering the normalization of reflexive logics revolving around system change. We use Normalization Process Theory to analyze the work evaluators from a policy assessment agency undertook to accomplish the alignment between the prevailing and proposed logics guiding evaluation practice, while implementing a reflexive evaluation approach. Ad hoc alignment strategies and insufficient investment in mutual sense-making regarding reflexive evaluation hindered normalization. We conclude that alignment requires developing reflexive evaluation legitimacy in the context of application and guarding reflexive evaluation integrity, while contextual structures and cultures and reflexive evaluation components are being negotiated. Elasticity (of contextual structures and cultures) and plasticity (of reflexive evaluation components) are introduced as helpful concepts to further understand how reflexive evaluation practices can become normalized. We reflect on the use of Normalization Process Theory for studying the normalization of reflexive evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-250
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • evaluation practice
  • institutional logics
  • normalization
  • Normalization Process Theory
  • policy evaluation
  • reflexive evaluation


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