Introducing Context Based Reforms: Adaptation of Management Performance Assessment Tool in South Africa and Uganda

The overarching purpose of this study was to explore the conditions under which specific institutional reforms are introduced in South Africa and Uganda through the case of the Management Performance Adaptation Tool (MPAT). In both countries, there were/are genuine attempts to contextualise reform efforts in the delivery of MPAT however, in South Africa, these were often curtailed by the degree of responsiveness to dynamic political shifts that compromised the political acceptability of the process. In Uganda, where the process is underway at the time of this writing, the main problem is around how to scale-down and domesticate the content and approach to delivery of the MPAT to fit the administrative capabilities and political realities on the ground. Despite these issues, the proponents of context-based approaches to reforms; such as the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation; continue to emphasise that all outcomes, good or bad remain relevant, and they present as pre-existing institutions for iteration, learning and adaptation.