Organisational culture of government and implications for M&E

The organisational culture within government entities profoundly influences the adoption and effectiveness of national M&E systems.

Using M&E for accountability may require a mindset shift – that the government should be accountable for its performance. Using M&E for learning and improvement may bring a further shift in mindset and a culture where problems are not avoided but used for improvement.

Traditional government systems, characterised by compliance-driven approaches and hesitancy to highlight shortcomings, may find this transition challenging. Recognising and navigating these cultural nuances is pivotal. It is important to understand the dominant culture and any less dominant cultures that may be receptive to using M&E to design appropriate responses and find possible champions or government structures that may drive M&E.


In Malaysia, the Prime Minister's Office's Performance Management and Delivery Unit employed a "big fast results" methodology to diagnose key problems with stakeholders in a laboratory environment and identify how the problems could be solved. These were then monitored weekly by the relevant government minister, who indicated that "if you don't tell me problems, I assume everything is working perfectly". This demonstrated an effective problem-solving approach central to the country's delivery unit model.

The Department of Planning, M&E (DPME) in South Africa was only created in 2010. As a new department, it was able to create an innovative and problem-solving culture, which meant it was able very quickly to establish a wide set of important M&E systems. Over the last four years, however, the system's performance has been more uneven.

Source: Global Evaluation Initiative (2022)


Global Evaluation Initiative (2022). MESA Guidance Note: Diagnostic Tool for a Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis. Retrieved from

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