Journal Article
Issues and perspectives on evaluating manufacturing modernization programs

The establishment of a national system of federal-state manufacturing modernization centers to serve small and medium-sized manufacturing systems is a major experiment in the US. The system's rapid expansion has made it impossible to begin with an experimental design that would systematically permit tests of the variables and relationships likely to effect the long-term economic effectiveness of these centers or their political and financial stability. Relatedly, many existing evaluation studies and journalistic narratives are marred by serious analytical and empirical flaws. It is not too late to attempt to improve practice in future evaluations. Several areas of expanded evaluation are described, inclusing theories of industrial restructuring, regional technology infrastructure, public management, financing, evaluation design, evaluability assessment, firm learning and measurement of benefits and costs. In each case, evaluation is presented as a means of simultaneously yielding information relevant to formative and summative program-level decisions and to hypothesis testing.

Title
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsGlasmeier A, Mark M
JournalElsevier
Issue25
Start Page309
Abstract

The establishment of a national system of federal-state manufacturing modernization centers to serve small and medium-sized manufacturing systems is a major experiment in the US. The system's rapid expansion has made it impossible to begin with an experimental design that would systematically permit tests of the variables and relationships likely to effect the long-term economic effectiveness of these centers or their political and financial stability. Relatedly, many existing evaluation studies and journalistic narratives are marred by serious analytical and empirical flaws. It is not too late to attempt to improve practice in future evaluations. Several areas of expanded evaluation are described, inclusing theories of industrial restructuring, regional technology infrastructure, public management, financing, evaluation design, evaluability assessment, firm learning and measurement of benefits and costs. In each case, evaluation is presented as a means of simultaneously yielding information relevant to formative and summative program-level decisions and to hypothesis testing.