This paper is the introduction to the edited collection Dilemmas of Engagement: Evaluation and the New Public Management, published by Elsevier. The publication is Volume 10 in Advances in Program Evaluation. The paper explores the contemporary political economy of evaluation and the impact of new forms of public management on the practice of evaluation. It considers different definitions of new public management principles and looks at how, under these conditions, evaluation has become institutionalised. Social relations in this context are often calculative and strained by inequalities of power and distrust of motives. The paper concludes by considering the lack of a realistic theory of evaluation. The audiences for the paper are evaluation specialists and those with an interest in accountability. The contribution of Norris was 50%.