From 1995 to 1997, A New Era of Institutional Development: An Evaluation of CIPE's Business Associaiton Management Training Program

CIPE’s Business Association Management Training Program is designed to enable business associations and chambers of commerce to more effectively represent their members and promote free market economic systems and democratic governance. Created in 1985, this program has evolved over the years into its current form, a one-week, in-country training seminar taught primarily by CIPE staff and American business association executives.

Program impact has been measured primarily by use of a new evaluation survey. While the causal relationship between the CIPE program and survey findings may be difficult to determine in some cases, there does appear to have been a significant amount of activity among participants since the program. For example, 61% of survey respondents reported success in changing government policies, 65% developed new services, and 50% developed new publications. Participants also consider the program to be especially significant in influencing them to utilize management tools such as mission statements, annual strategic plans, annual reports and computerized membership databases.

The impact of human resource development modules was especially difficult to evaluate for their impact on participants. However, CIPE’s distribution of the training manual and facilitation of networking opportunities were seen as major contributions to professional development. Financial stability was also difficult to assess in the absence of real financial data, but significant improvements were reported in the areas of non dues income generation, membership recruitment and financial and budgetary practices. Participant reaction to the training seminar revealed a number of findings which indicate a need to enhance or modify some of the modules. For example, participants from South Africa and the Maghreb region had mixed views as to the usefulness of policy advocacy and democracy concepts, while other countries were considerably more enthusiastic. Participants also had conflicting opinions regarding the modules on “finance and budgeting” and “business ethics.” These reactions illustrate a need to clarify the goals of these modules and improve their presentation. In some cases, there may be an overlap in module content which could be minimized depending upon the level of teaching repetition which is desired to enhance learning.

Although efforts have begun to increase the relevance of the seminars to local conditions, additional efforts will continue to improve this aspect of the program. A new evaluation format will also help to increase CIPE’s ability to assess program impact and reinforce participant learning. New types of follow up will also assist in this effort. Furthermore, the cost effectiveness of the program can be maximized by implementing an enhanced budget review process which examines a variety of cost saving options.

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