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Christabel Mbui - Masters of Public Policy and Administration Candidate, Kenyatta University, Kenya

David Minja - Lecturer, School of Law, Arts and Social Sciences, Kenyatta University, Kenya


The ratings of service delivery among County Governments in Kenya has been dwindling since their inception in the year 2013. The poor performance is attributed to poor practices in the execution of county functions. In addition, noncompliance with the set out guidelines and rules of county operation is an eminent debate in the corridors of both public opinion and government audit. It is against this background that the study sought to establish how governance practices influence performance of Embu County Government and how such relationship is moderated by government policies. The study was anchored on Upper-Echelons theory and agency theory. Descriptive survey design utilizing cross-sectional approach was used to implement the study. The targeted population was 248 Embu County workers comprising of Chief Executive Committee Members (10), Chief Officers (14), Directors/ Deputy Director (30), Ward Administrators (20) and 174 Village Administrators (Embu County Government, 2022). In obtaining a sample size of 148, Krejcie and Morgan Table of sample determination was used. Stratified random sampling was used in choosing respondents in other sub-populations. Yamane`s proportionate allocation formula was used in assigning sample sizes in each sub-population. Raw data was obtained by means of structured Likert-type questionnaires and unstructured interview guide. Qualitative data was analyzed qualitatively by means of transcription and coding, theme generation and summarizing. Data was presented in tabular form. The relationship between governance practices and performance of Embu County decreased in the following order: public participation (r = 0.86), strategic planning (r = 0.76) and leadership styles (r= 0.50). Thus governance practices were concluded to have significant influence on performance of Embu County. Introduction of government policies to the governance practices resulted into 1% variation in the performance of Embu County. This led to the conclusion that government policies had no significant moderation on the relationship between governance practices and performance of Embu County. The County Governments should ensure that strategic planning is adaptively focused on performance needs relative to the prevailing internal and external constraints. There is need for county governments to ensure that public participation is not only an event but also a process continuous and active involvement of public in order to develop the most informed and widely accepted decisions. County Government can develop leadership development training and development programme to empower public officers in meeting performance targets through effective integration of people and resources. Public officers can use the findings from this study to do self-assessment, learn and improve in their governance practices in attaining performance targets.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)