Borrowing from the negotiation literature, we tested 2 factors that might improve stakeholder dialogue in program and policy evaluation. Undergraduate stakeholders (61 pairs) engaged in dialogue about their universities' alcohol policies. Pairs were randomly assigned to levels of accountability audience and dialogue structure. The audience for the videotaped dialogue was described as holding either (a) views about the policy similar to the participant's, consistent across audience members (homogeneous), or (b) mixed views, on both sides of the issue (heterogeneous). Pairs approached the dialogue with either (a) problem-solving goals or (b) no particular strategy. Dyads accountable to a heterogeneous audience and given problem-solving instructions exhibited the most effective dialogue. Accountability to a heterogeneous audience facilitated satisfaction with and optimism about dialogue. Accountability to homogeneous audiences and adopting no particular strategy yielded the least positive perceptions of dialogue. Implications for stakeholder dialogue, and for the role of social psychology in evaluation are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology