Performance evaluation of the government agencies seems to be one of the most important issues in modern public administration. The countries with developed economies introduced various performance evaluation models. Th e developing countries also implement instruments to evaluate the government agencies performance. Unlike countries with developed institutional environments, the developing ones very often import evaluation models that have been proven in other countries. In that context, our research aimed to understand how the performance evaluation models work in countries with a developing institutional environment. The fact is that the performance evaluation of the government agencies shows certain results which present it in a positive way to the public. Unfortunately, these survey results do not adequately cover difficulties and obstacles that appear in the performance evaluation introduction process. In this regard, the perception of the evaluation system by the first-hand (civil servants), as well as the end entities (NGO representatives) of how the introduction of the evaluation institute contributes to improving the effectiveness of government agencies need to be analyzed. This article presents an analysis of the impact performance evaluation on performance in government agencies of Kazakhstan through interviews with civil servants (insiders), as they are aware of administrative changes, and representatives of NGO that closely interact with government agencies, so they can really assess the effect of changes. Data collected by quantitative and qualitive methods, such as legislative analysis, mass survey, in-depth interviews of civil servants and NGOs, and focus groups. The authors took into account all the limitations that are typical for surveys of civil servants in countries with a developing institutional environment (e.g. Nemec et al. 2011). In general, the research results provide a wider understanding of the effectiveness of institutional changes when embedding NPM tools into the administrative reforms through a “top-down approach” in emerging economies. The results show that the implementation of a new institution (performance evaluation) into the existing structure of formal institutions of the government agencies was accomplished. It was found that implanting a new institution caused, to some extent, a short-term “shock” to the government agencies, as there since previously there were no objective criteria for evaluating their activity. At the same time, performance evaluation is still not unincorporated into the internal management system in government agencies. It is perceived as a redundant imputed data transfer function for external evaluators. For this reason, top management of government agencies does not involve all staff in the process of evaluating and discussing its results. However, employees show interest in participating in these processes. All this once again confirms that the post-Soviet countries are still in networks of past heritage, namely they preserve a centralized bureaucratic system controlled from above.