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Animals in the administrative zoo : organizational change and agency autonomy in Germany

  • Although Germany does not figure among the 'forerunners' of managerial reforms of the public sector, it has a long tradition of agencies and non-departmental bodies at the federal level. Over time, the federal administration has developed into a highly differentiated 'administrative zoo' with a large number of species, questioning the image of a well-ordered German bureaucracy. The article addresses organizational changes among non-ministerial agencies during the past 20 years and ministry-agency relations, drawing on data from a comprehensive survey of the federal administration. The structural changes we observe are neither comprehensive nor planned; they are much more evolutionary than revolutionary, driven by sectoral policies and not by any overall agency policy, supported more by regulatory than by managerial reforms, and most of the changes are horizontal mergers or successions of existing organizations, while we find almost no evidence for hiving-off from ministries to agencies. At the same time, federal agencies report a lotAlthough Germany does not figure among the 'forerunners' of managerial reforms of the public sector, it has a long tradition of agencies and non-departmental bodies at the federal level. Over time, the federal administration has developed into a highly differentiated 'administrative zoo' with a large number of species, questioning the image of a well-ordered German bureaucracy. The article addresses organizational changes among non-ministerial agencies during the past 20 years and ministry-agency relations, drawing on data from a comprehensive survey of the federal administration. The structural changes we observe are neither comprehensive nor planned; they are much more evolutionary than revolutionary, driven by sectoral policies and not by any overall agency policy, supported more by regulatory than by managerial reforms, and most of the changes are horizontal mergers or successions of existing organizations, while we find almost no evidence for hiving-off from ministries to agencies. At the same time, federal agencies report a lot of bureaucratic discretion, whereas they perceive substantial levels of 'red tape' due to administrative regulations. We also find that traditional, hierarchical modes of ministerial oversight are still dominating; only few agencies have performance agreements with measurable goals.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Tobias Bach, Werner JannORCiDGND
URL:http://ras.sagepub.com/
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0020852310372448
ISSN:0020-8523
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2010
Year of Completion:2010
Release Date:2017/03/25
Source:International review of administrative sciences. - ISSN 0020-8523. - 76 (2010), 3, S. 443 - 468
Organizational units:Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert