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 4: Austria: nothing is different, but everything’s changed

Stephan Leixnering, Andrea Schikowitz and Renate E. Meyer

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


The Austrian COCOPS findings confirm the ongoing relevance of the traditional legalistic public sector norms and values. However, this traditional administrative culture is today supplemented with managerialistic and network-oriented ideas and orientations. Combining a focus on results with process orientation and increased networking and mediating activities between diverse actors and interests, we find hybrid forms of governance and executives’ role identities. For instance, shifting value priorities, such as emphasis of the relevance of results in general, go along with reluctant behaviour, such as a lack of actual performance management, underscored by the perception of low management autonomy. Thus, while managerial values and principles appear as incorporated in Austrian public executives’ role identities, in order to deal with shortcomings and contradictions with the existing system, they fall back to familiar practices: Basically, nothing is different, but everything’s changed.

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