• David K. M’ Mugambi Management University of Africa
  • Dr. Washington Okeyo Management University of Africa
  • Dr. Magdalene Muthoka Management University of Africa


Background of the Study: Public sector reforms is intended to change public service to be more responsive to citizen needs and ensure ethical service delivery.

Objective of the Study: The aim of this paper is to discuss the impact of public sector reforms on compliance with public service ethics at the devolved County Governments of Kenya.

Methodology: The study is based on systematic review methods to discuss the rationale, drivers, achievement, challenges and the general lessons learned and whether the reform has any effect on public service ethics compliance.

Results and findings: Results showed that in the last thirty years, many countries especially in Africa adopted reforms with varied outcomes and impact on public service ethics compliance. The reviewed literatures have also revealed that implementation of public sector reforms is considered more important for reengineering the public service than compliance with public service ethics. Moreover, review has also identified several barriers including the changing reform paradigm is globally, regionally and nationally well documented. In Africa and Kenya in particular literature on reforms is generally inconclusive on the impact of reforms on compliance with public service ethics. In addition, the review has also identified some important theoretical, conceptual and methodological drawbacks in previous studies that restrict generalization of results to particular contexts such as County Governments.

Recommendations: The recommendation is made for further research focusing on the relationships between strategic leadership and reform implementation and employee commitment to public service ethics compliance.

Keywords: Public Sector Reforms, Public Service Ethics, County Governments, Kenya

Author Biographies

David K. M’ Mugambi, Management University of Africa

PhD Student of Management and Leadership, Management University of Africa

Dr. Washington Okeyo, Management University of Africa

Vice Chancellor, Management University of Africa

Dr. Magdalene Muthoka, Management University of Africa

Lecturer, Management University of Africa


Abdi A (2014). Clans, Conflicts and Devolution in Mandera, Kenya. Direct Peace: Peace Insight.

Bojanic, A. N. (2018). The impact of fiscal decentralization on accountability, economic freedom, and political and civil liberties in the Americas. Economies, 6(1): 55-77.

Box R.C (1999) Running government like a business. Implication for public administration theory and practice. American Review of Public Administration, 29 (1)19-43

Bryson, J. M., Crosby, B. C., & Bloomberg, L. (2019). Public value governance: Moving beyond traditional public administration and the new public management. Public administration review, 74(4), 445-456.

Bryson, J. M., Crosby, B. C., & Bloomberg, L. (Eds.). (2015). Public value and public administration. Georgetown University Press.

Butcher, J. R., & Gilchrist, D. ed. (2016). The Three Sector Solution: Delivering public policy in collaboration with not-for-profits and business. ANU E Press. ISBN 978-176-046-0389

Calogero, M. (2010). The introduction of new public management principles in the Italian public sector. Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, 6(30), 30-54.

Cannon B.J., and Jacob Haji Ali, J.H. (2018). Devolution in Kenya Four Years On: A Review of Implementation and Effects in Mandera County. In: African Conflict and Peace building Review, Indiana University., Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 1-28

Carmel, E., & Harlock, J. (2008). Instituting the third sector as a governable terrain: partnership, procurement and performance in the UK. Policy & politics, 36(2), 155-171.

Chemengich, M. K. (2013). Managing strategic change in public sector. Standard Research Journal of Business Management, 1(1), 1-40.

Commonwealth Secretariat, C. (2016). Advancing Gender Equality: Case Studies from Across the Commonwealth. Commonwealth Secretariat.

Dan, S., & Pollitt, C. (2015). NPM Can Work: An optimistic review of the impact of New Public Management reforms in central and Eastern Europe. Public Management Review, 17(9), 1305-1332.

D'Arcy, M., & Cornell, A. (2016). Devolution and corruption in Kenya: Everyone's turn to eat. African Affairs, 115(459): 246-273.

De Vries, M., & Nemec, J. (2013). Public sector reform: an overview of recent literature and research on NPM and alternative paths. International Journal of Public Sector Management. 26(1) 4-16

Dickson, H., (2015). From NPM to NPG: The implications of a New Public Service. In: Governance at a Glance. Paris; OECD

Emase P (2017) Challenges to peace in Kenya’s Mandera County – a grassroots perspective

Engida, T. G., & Bardill, J. (2013). Reforms of the public sector in the light of the new public management: A cases of Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Public Administration and Policy Research, 5(1), 1-7.

Fukumoto, E., & Bozeman, B. (2019). Public values theory: What is missing?. The American Review of Public Administration, 49(6), 635-648.

Sahgal, G., Kimaiyo. T., Mohamed. A.H., Rotich, S., Karienye, D. & Warfa, A.O, (2019) Clan Conflict and Violent Extremism in the North-Eastern Counties of Kenya RUSI Conference:

Glinka, B., & Hensel, P.G., (2017) Reforms and identities: How relentless pursuit of improvements produces a sense of helplessness among bureaucrats. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 30 (2)142-160.

GOK (2010). Public Sector Transformation Strategy: From Reform to Transformation 2010-14 – components.

GOK (2017). Public Sector Transformation Strategy: From Reform to Transformation 2010-14 – components.

Guma, P.K (2013). Public-Sector Reform, E-Government and the Search for Excellence in Africa: Experiences from Uganda” Electronic Journal of e-Government Vol 11 Issue 2, (pp241-253) ISSN 1479-439X 241

Haque, M., S (2007). Theory and Practice of Public Administration in Southeast Asia: Traditions, Directions, and Impacts. In. Intl Journal of Public Administration, 30: 1297–1326, ISSN 0190-0692 print / 1532-4265 online DOI: 10.1080/01900690701229434

Heidhues, F., & Obare G., (2011) Lessons from Structural Adjustment Programmes and their Effects in Africa. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture 50 (1) 55-64

Hood, C. (1991). A public management for all seasons? Public administration, 69(1), 3-19.

Hope, K. (2012). Managing the Public Sector in Kenya: Reform and Transformation for Improved Performance. Journal of Public Administration and Governance, 2(4) 2161-7104

Hope, K. (2015). Strategic leadership for the 21st century National Capacity Building Framework. Government of Kenya.

Islam F (2015) New Public Management (NPM): A dominating paradigm in public sectors. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations. 9(4), 141-151.

Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (1976). Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of financial economics, 3(4), 305-360.

Juma, T. O., Korir, J. K. & Mulongo, L. S. (2014). Devolution and Governance Conflicts in Africa: Kenyan Scenario. In: Public Policy and Administration Research, 4(6)

Kalimullah, N. A., Alam, K. M. A., & Nour, M. A. (2012). New public management: Emergence and principles. Bup Journal, 1(1), 1-22.

Kellis, D. S. & Bing R., (2015). Effective leadership in managing NPM-based change in the public sector. Journal of Organizational Change Management Vol. 28 Iss 4, pp. 614-626.

Kilelo, H. (2015). Public Sector Reforms in Africa: Focus, Challenges and Lessons Learnt. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention, 4(7): 19-27.

Kilelo, H., Beru, M., & Nassiuma, B., (2015). Devolution and Public Sector Reforms in Kenya: Challenges and Opportunities. In. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development Vol 4 Issue 8. ISSN 2278 – 0211 (Online)

Kim, S., & Han, C. (2015). Administrative reform in South Korea: New public management and the bureaucracy. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 81(4), 694-712.

Kimathi, L. (2017). Challenges of the devolved health sector in Kenya: teething problems or systemic contradictions? Africa Development, 42(1), 55-77.

Knies, E., Boselie, P., Gould-Williams, J., & Vandenabeele, W. (2017). Strategic human resource management and public sector performance: context matters.

Korir, S. R. Rotich, C. & Bengat, R. (2015). Performance management and public service delivery in Kenya', European Journal of Research and Reflection in Management Sciences, 3(4):42-54.

Nõmm, K., & Randma-Liiv, T. (2012). Performance measurement and performance information in new democracies: A study of the Estonian central government. Public Management Review, 14(7), 859-879.

Lamidi, K. O., Agboola, T. O., & Taleat, B. A. (2016). Public Sector Reforms in Africa: A Collection of Essays. Canadian Social Science, 12 (10), 1-20.

Lawton, A. (1998). Ethical management for the public services. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Lynn, Laurence E, (2006) Public management: old and new. Routledge, Oxon, UK

Marobela, M.N. S. and Boy, R.L (2012). The hidden hand of neoliberal global institutions: The World Bank and the Reshaping of Botswana Public Sector. DOI: 10.5296/jpag.v2i2.2040
Mookherjee, D. (2014). Political decentralization. Economics, 7(1), 231-249.

Mueller, D.C., (2008). Public Choice: An Introduction. Journal of Public Policy. 7(1), 231-249.

Muigua, K., (2017) Devolution and Natural Resource Management in Kenya. Law Society of Kenya Journal, 15(1), pp.1-42.

National Performance Management Advisory Commission, NPMAC (2018), A Performance Management Framework for State and County Government: From measurement and reporting to management and improving.

Ndemo, B and Weiss, T (Ed) (2017). Digital Kenya: An Entrepreneurial Revolution in the Making. In Palgrave Studies of Entrepreneurship in Africa ISBN 978-1-137-57880-8 ISBN 978-1-137-57878-5 (eBook) DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-57878-5

Obong'o, S., O (2009). Implementation of Performance Contracting in Kenya. In. International Public Management Review · Volume 10 · Issue 2. International Public Management Network Electronic Journal at

O'Flynn, J. (2007). From new public management to public value: Paradigmatic change and managerial implications. Australian journal of public administration, 66(3), 353-366.

OIG (2018) Office of Inspector General Reports. Retrieved from;

Oketch T.C., (2017) Devolution of Public Health care Services in Kenya and its Implication on Universal Health Coverage. : Journal of Pharmacy 7(5) 9-23

Okiri, F. O., Ngugi, L. W., & Wandayi, J. O. (2019). Strengthening Integrity & Preventing Corruption in the Judiciary in Kenya. Beijing Law Review, 10(2), 131-152.

Onyango, G. (2019). Organizational trust and accountability reforms in public management: Analysis of inter-agency implementation relations in Kenya. International Journal of Public Administration, 42(14), 1159-1174.

Parker, D. (1995). Privatization and the internal environment. International Journal of Public Sector Management 3(3), 315-325. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

Rahmawati, F. A., & Sarjito, A. (2020). Strategic Leadership to Prevent Corruption in Indonesia. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(1), 158-165.

Randma-Liiv, T., & Drechsler, W. (2017). Three decades, four phases: public administration development in central and Eastern Europe, 1989–2017. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 30(6-7), 595-605.

Rauh, J. (2018). Ethics Problems in the New Public Service: Back to a Service Ethic? Public Integrity, 20(3), 234-256.

Republic of Kenya (2017). Public Service Commission of Kenya annual evaluation report for the year 2017-2018.

Roman, A. V. (2015). The drive for change in public organizations: A critical analysis of management fashions. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, 18(4), 454-493.

Rowe, F. (2014) What Literature Review is not: Diversity, Boundaries and Recommendations. European Journal of Information Systems, (23:3) 241-255.

Scotland, P (2016) Forward to Key Principles of Public Sector Reforms: Case Studies and Frameworks. Policy & Politics, 44(3), 333-350.

Scott-Villiers, P. (2017). Small wars in Marsabit County: devolution and political violence in northern Kenya. Conflict, Security & Development, 17(3), 247-264.

Sebola, M. P. (2014). Ethics in the South African public service: A paradox of culture, politics and ethics in the world of work. Journal of Social Sciences, 40(3), 295-304.

Terry, L. D. (2015). Leadership of Public Bureaucracies: The Administrator as Conservator: The Administrator as Conservator. Routledge.

Thonzhe, N. & Vyas-Doorgapersad, S. (2017). The Role of Organisational Ethics Management within the South African Public Service. International Journal of Business and Management Studies, Vol 9, No2, 137-150.

Randma-Liiv, T., & Drechsler, W. (2017). Three decades, four phases: public administration development in central and Eastern Europe, 1989–2017. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 30(6-7), 595-605.

Torfing, J., & Triantafillou, P. (2013). What’s in a name? Grasping new public governance as a political-administrative system. International Review of Public Administration, 18(2), 9-25.

Torfing J., Røiseland A., & Sørensen E., (2016). Transforming the Public Sector into an Arena for Co-creation: Barriers, Drivers, Benefits and Ways Forward

Van Dooren, W., & Van de Walle, S. (Eds.). (2016). Performance information in the public sector: How it is used. Berlin: Springer.

Ventriss, C., Perry, J. L., Nabatchi, T., Milward, H. B., & Johnston, J. M. (2019). Democracy, Public Administration, and Public Values in an Era of Estrangement. Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, 2(4), 275-282.

Wagana, D. M., & Iravo, M. A. (2017). Analysis of the relationship between devolved governance, political decentralization, and service delivery: A critical review of literature.

Wheeler, D., & Ng, M. (2004). Organizational innovation as an opportunity for sustainable enterprise: Standardization as a potential constraint. Stakeholders, the environment and society, 185-211.

World Bank (2012). Devolution without Disruption, Pathways to a successful New Kenya.

World Bank (2018). Learning and Results in World Bank Operations: How the World Bank’s Learns. Evaluation 1. IEG (Independent Evaluation Group) Washington, DC: World Bank.

World Bank, (2003). World development report 2004: Making services work for the poor people. Washington DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press.

Wu, J., & Jingjun, S. (2018). Leadership and Public Sector Reform in China. Leadership and Public Sector Reform in Asia. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Yeboah, A. E. (2017). Strong Personalities and Strong Institutions, Mediated by a Strong Third Force: Thinking Systems’ in Corruption Control. Public Organization Review, 17(4): 545-562.
How to Cite
Mugambi, D. K. M., Okeyo, D. W., & Muthoka, D. M. (2020). PUBLIC SECTOR REFORMS IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC SERVICE ETHICS: THE CASE OF COUNTY GOVERNMENTS IN KENYA. African Journal of Emerging Issues, 2(9), 76 - 98. Retrieved from