Public Administration Reforms in Europe
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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.
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Chapter 6: German public administration: incremental reform and a difficult terrain for management ideas and instruments

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.

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