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Steven Van de Walle, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Anca Oprisor and Vid Štimac

Recent years have seen a strong growth in comparative public administration research. In Europe, increasing integration has stimulated interest in comparative studies of European countries’ administrative systems and how these are changing. There has also been a strong increase in the empirical material available for comparative analysis. Much of this material comes from international organisations, but also researchers have compiled large empirical datasets, building on a tradition of administrative elite studies. The COCOPS project has been developed as one of the largest comparative research projects in Europe ever. Its objectives are to advance the study of the transformations of European administrative systems by taking a broader perspective on public management and administrative reforms, by setting up a systematically comparative research design and by constructing an original dataset based on a large-scale executive survey. This chapter introduces the multi-country COCOPS Top Public Executive Survey, including the sample and the questionnaire.
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Gerhard Hammerschmid and Anca Oprisor

In international comparative literature, Germany is frequently coined as a ‘laggard’ or a ‘latecomer’ with regard to (new) public management reforms. This chapter based on answers from top officials in German federal and state government reveals a more nuanced picture of public administration reforms in Germany. It shows that German public administration is more prone to reform and more aligned to European reform trends than would be expected. Executives’ values, self-perceptions and reform experiences indicate an increasing opening towards a management logic and administrative reforms. The practical impact of these reforms trends both at policy field and especially organizational level has remained rather limited up until now and do not indicate a substantial change in the dominantly Weberian and legalistic character of German public administration.