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Cross-comparison


Comparative Evaluation of Different Types of International Organization (Part #3)


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One of the original stimuli to experiment with cross-comparison was a comparison of national budget of countries with turnover of MNCs (3). The first few in the series were:

United States

95.2

Britain

15.2

General Motors

9.6

Italy

8.8

Japan

7.1

Canada

7.0

Standard Oil

5.9

Ford

5.9

Shell

5.9

Sweden

3.6

It was then hoped that by placing countries in order of population, a more interesting comparison with MNCs could be made by inserting MNCs into the sequence on the basis of sales against GNP. The decrease in the latter does not follow the decrease in population of course, and several "rules" were tried to govern insertion -- with little success. The hope had been that NGOs could also be inserted into the se- on the basis of mass membership against population. The non-mass momb3rship NGOs could then have been inserted into the same sequence on the basis of country representation. This approach seems to be of little use and of extremely doubtful significance -except for a journalistic presentation.

Development of a ranking technique

The following points have to be taken into account:

  • some information will always be absent
  • absent information should not severely penalize the organization's rank
  • the technique should encourage organizations which are more "international" to give extra information which can increase their rank
  • even within the NGOs, significant bodies may have very high or very low
  • membership
  • program funds
  • membership distribution
  • etc
  • The objective must be to capture those bodies which score relatively high when as many factors as possible are taken into account.
  • some factors are more important than others in evaluating the significance of an organization -- but the weighting depends much on the user and therefore must be modifiable.

Three approaches were considered:

  • multiplying scores on different scales, for each body, and ranking on the total
  • adding scores on different scales, for each body, end ranking on the total
  • a combination of adding and multiplying

The first approach was rejected because of the problem of handling the many cases where either information would be absent, because not available, or absent, because it was not a significant operating characteristic of the organization. The second was rejected in favour of the third to permit overall addition but multiplication within factors when these could be "exploded" to give a more elaborate assessment.

Illustration:

Score =

a1(factor)2 + a2(factor)2 + a3(factor)3 + ...

where an = weighting to be attached to each factor

but an(factor) may be exploded as:

an(bn1(factor))n1 + bn2(factor)n2...)

where bnn equals weighting to be attached to a component factor (which may itself score as zero)

Similarly each of the factors may be exploded when appropriate - an "onion peel" principle.

The argument would be as more information was given on a factor and it could be examined at a lower level, this extra information should itself tend to push the overall score up, ie more detailed information can only improve the score, it cannot push it down.

Example:

Suppose an organization it has members in 87 countries, this would be described as:

Score = ...ap(87)+ ....

If this was amplified as 87 countries with a given distribution by continent the score becomes:

score = ...ap(bp(35)+bp2(20)+bp3(30)+bp4(7)...)+....

where the b factors are the number of continents activated

It would be an advantage to allow the user to experiment with different wieghtings to refine the importance which he attaches to different factors.

It would seen that th is approach would be satisfactorily tested. Non-quantitative actors could also be scored and weighted for addition to the others, eg: nature of membership

  • Mass
  • Special mass
  • Professional
  • Specialized professional

The difficulty would be to score each so that millions of mass members would be appropriately counterbalanced by the right factor weighting.

Whilst this technique could be used for ranking NGOs only, given the contents of Table 1, it might also be possible to

Attempt useful comparaison with MNCs, IGOs, etc.


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