Project impact in a multi-level context: The case of the European Fisheries Fund evaluation in Finland

Sebastian Godenhjelm


An important growing trend is reliance on temporary organisations and mechanisms such as projects. Projects have been increasingly used in all kinds of organisations, including public sector organisations, and are widely considered as effective and precise management tools. The extent to which current evaluations are able to measure their perceived impact is, however, unclear. Are project evaluations conducted in such a way that the long-term effect of – in this case the EU fisheries policy – can be assessed, and to what extent are the contributions or added value of projects as a form of organizing assessed in the evaluations? The article draws on programme theory to analyse the evaluation criteria used for European Fisheries Fund projects in Finland. The article concludes that a potential mismatch between operational logic between the evaluation system and the project logic exists. It also shows that there is a connection between decisions made to fund projects and the actions that they produce, but that a clear causal relationship measurement of project impact is difficult to establish using current evaluation criteria.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413