Exploring the quantification and measurement of public procurement performance expectations gap in community roadworks in Uganda: evidence from comprehensive survey

Charles Kalinzi*, Joseph Mpeera Ntayi, Levi Bategeka Kabagambe, Moses Muhwezi, John Kigozi Munene

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to quantify, for the first time, the performance expectations gap in community roadworks projects by proposing a performance expectations gap index (PEGI) that can answer a vital question of how wide/how narrow the gap is from a stakeholder perspective. Previous scholars have offered qualitative descriptions of the expectations gap from an auditing point of view using a constructivist approach. This study uses a positivistic approach in addressing the procurement performance expectations gap. 

Design/methodology/approach: The index is computed by combining data from actual and perceived performance of public roadworks from two categories of respondents: “Technical personnel” and “Road users” in selected District Local Governments (DLGS) of Uganda using paired mean differences. The authors created grand means from these two groups for us to make a meaningful comparison. Data were collected from community access roads projects opened, maintained and completed and the satisfaction levels from 69 DLGS. The community leaders and political representatives formed a group of road-users, whereas DLG Engineering staff represented the technical staff. Data was collected on the extent to which the DLG had achieved performance efficiency, performance effectiveness and performance reasonableness. The measurements items was anchored along the continuum of: (5) Outstanding = Performance is consistently superior to (1) Unsatisfactory = Performance is consistently unacceptable. 

Findings: Study findings show the level of performance of roadworks attained by technical staff is only 65%, with 15.9% gap is attributed to performance efficiency, the 29.1% gap is attributed to performance effectiveness issues and 20% gap is the perceived performance unreasonableness gap in the stakeholder’s perspective, creating an overall performance gap of 35%, in the perspective of road users. From the computations carried out, the authors determined the size of the expectation gaps by the technical DLG stakeholders and road-users of 0.3493. The gap index (0.3493) falls within the range between 0.2 and 0.39, which is a small performance expectations gap, calling for top management’s attention to identify and work on the parameters causing operational inefficiency within implementing units of DLGs. Study findings show the level of performance of roadworks attained by technical staff is 65%, creating a performance gap of 35%, in the perspective of road users. 

Research limitations/implications: The implications of these results can ignite a meaningful debate on whether financing of road projects should be based on how narrow the performance gap should be and having sustained evidence that the gap is progressively being narrowed for improved sustainability of roadworks financing by donor agencies. Whereas this quantification of the performance gap is a new positivistic direction towards minimizing the performance expectation gap, it can easily be adopted by roadworks implementing units in assessing road-user performance needs at the point of project completion and once these are not achieved, such minor loopholes would be worked on, on a regular basis as and when need warrants. 

Practical implications: The authors have introduced and empirically verified the performance expectation gap index, which further understands the performance expectations gap from a positivistic approach. The paper provides a problem-solving tool to analyse stakeholder engagement linkages with performance expectations variations on the practical side. 

Social implications: The paper has started on a change perception campaign of shaping road-user critical perspectives about the outcome of community roadworks procurements. By introducing and creating a mindset of quantitative assessments in understanding the expectation gaps that can be caused by a number of factors, the responsible people for creating, maintaining and widening PEGs will eventually wake up and improve personal behaviours that lead to the widening of the procurement performance gap in roadworks, from a stakeholders’ perspective. 

Originality/value: Unlike previous scholars who used a constructivist approach, the paper is the first of its kind to use a positivistic approach to quantify the procurement performance expectations gap using a PEGI. The use of the index gives new insights to managing procurement performance expectations to the satisfaction of stakeholders from a quantitative perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-203
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Public Procurement
Issue number2
Early online date1 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022


  • Community access roadworks
  • Expectations gap
  • Performance expectations gap
  • Performance expectations gap index
  • Procurement performance expectations gap
  • Road-user satisfaction

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