Table of Contents

Public Administration Reforms in Europe

Public Administration Reforms in Europe

The View from the Top

Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes

Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe from a uniquely comparative perspective. It examines and analyses empirical findings regarding the dynamics, major trends and tools of administrative reforms, with special focus on the diversity of top executives’ perceptions about the effects of those reforms.

Chapter 3: Understanding elites: values, attitudes, motivations and role perceptions of top public sector executives in Europe

Trui Steen and Ulrike Weske

Subjects: business and management, public management, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public administration and management, public policy


Data from the COCOPS survey is used to study what drives top civil sector executives in Europe and explore international differences related to their role perceptions, assessment of what values should underlie public services, work values, and personal attitudes. Across different countries trends towards new forms of public service delivery do not mean that old roles and values steering public service have disappeared. Rather, public sector leaders balance different roles and values that at times might seem hard to combine into one. The senior civil servants in Europe seem motivated by intrinsic elements of the work and by doing good for society. This supports the focus on the public interest central in the thriving public motivation literature, acting as a counter-weight for the bureaucrat bashing that has been prominent in previous decades. Finally, the data on personal attitudes indicate a high level of entrepreneurial potential and focus on achievement.

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