Public reform administration

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As new public management ( English New Public Management , or the NPM ) is a direction within the administrative reform called and modernization of the state, on the acquisition of private sector management techniques in the public administration is based. The cornerstones of New Public Management vary depending on the country and / or author. In Europe, especially in Great Britain, a particularly radical variant of the NPM was used ( Thatcherism ). NPM comes from the 1980s with its dominance of economically liberal governments, in particular the politics of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan , but also social democratic governments such as New Zealand and Sweden. The successor governments ( Tony Blair , Bill Clinton ) also continued many reform approaches on essential points.

Theoretical-conceptual background

It is debatable whether New Public Management is a coherent and consistent approach. Due to the arbitrary combination of the individual components as well as the different theoretical currents from which New Public Management emerged, a universal, genuine core cannot be determined; on the other hand, from the overall view - also transnational - there is a clearly describable approach that can and will be identified as an NPM. The main theoretical and conceptual currents in the NPM are approaches from the New Political Economy , which essentially demand more voting rights for citizens understood as customers of public administration , and various theories and approaches of medium range such as the transaction cost approach , principal-agent approaches (which are described in Essentially demand the separation between client and contractor in public production), but also different quality approaches with very different national weightings. In addition, it should not be overlooked that some states also place quality closely in connection with user democracy , i.e. the participation and co-production of the recipients of public services in the production of services themselves.

In the objective of seeing the citizens as customers as possible , the NPM has a point of contact with the concept of the citizen commune that emerged around 2000 - which, however, focuses on being particularly close to the citizens .


The aim is more efficient administration by introducing business efficiency criteria . Marked the NPM by catchwords such as project management , flat hierarchies , customer focus , target agreements , restructuring of the civil service status , depoliticization of the administration and English expressions such as lean management ( lean management ), total quality management , benchmarking and contracting-out .

The core elements of the NPM are:

  • Redefinition of roles and functions through stronger market orientation
  • Making administrative units independent ( enabling authority , agencyfication )
  • Reorganization of the company organization
  • Modernization of the accounting and introduction of controlling concepts for profit management
  • stronger customer orientation
  • stronger performance orientation in personnel policy

National strategies of the NPM

New Zealand

The main points of the centralized modernization of the Labor government ( rogernomics ) were:

  • Reform of the budgeting process ;
  • Introduction of non- cameralistic budget management systems;
  • Stabilization of the separation of roles between politics and administration and between “ordering” and “executing” administrative units;
  • fundamental reform of public service law and finally
  • Outsourcing of central government commercial activities to public companies, e.g. Partly also complete material privatization of public enterprises under the prohibition of the distortion of competition.

The cause of the state modernization was Great Britain's accession to the then European Community . As a result, New Zealand lost its most important sales market. Exports were not internationally competitive and economic policy was one-sidedly focused on Great Britain. The potential of the Australasian market was not used. As a result of the loss of sales markets, the currency lost value, the national debt rose and the trade balance also put a strain on New Zealand's economy. Meanwhile, in New Zealand - also under the impression of the Schick Report, an extensive analysis commissioned by the state itself - the social costs and de-democratization are mainly pointed out, but the fundamental changes have not been reversed.

Great Britain

The economic situation in Great Britain at the beginning of the 1980s was characterized by a long-lasting negative economic development, high unemployment and - in a European comparison - above-average expenditure. Since the beginning of the conservative government era in 1979, the modernization of the public sector has been a central policy goal. The priority was to significantly reduce spending in the public sector. Since 1981 the trend has been towards an ever smaller share of government expenditure in the gross domestic product, which was particularly evident after 1986. This is also due to the fact that the British central government has since 1979/80 severely restricted the municipalities' expenditure and limited their income. Margaret Thatcher's goal was to reduce public spending by reducing the public sector per se (privatizing key industries nationalized since 1945 such as shipbuilding, mining and others), reducing the influence of unions and limiting costs at the sub-national level. The goals were similar to those in New Zealand, but the reform process was oriented top-down , was pushed through at high political costs against great opposition, and ultimately also led to the overthrow of Margaret Thatcher. The Blair administration did not undertake any major reforms, and the central changes in the Thatcher and Major reigns remained unaffected. As in New Zealand, the Blair government focused primarily on neglected areas such as education and social standards.


The development in Switzerland was originally strongly influenced by the role models abroad, but then turned out to be very independent. New Zealand, the Netherlands and later Scandinavia in particular served as sources of ideas for the development of a Swiss version of the NPM: impact-oriented management . The first reform efforts (around 1991) came primarily from chief officials who wanted to make the state, which was perceived as bureaucratic, more capable of acting again, and who managed to win over leading executive politicians for their ideas. The first major projects were started in 1993 (cantons of Bern and Lucerne, cities of Bern and Baden), which were tested with pilot offices around 1996. Implementation has taken place in most cantons since around 2000, but still in a few cities. At the federal level, too, results-based administrative management is only taking place with restraint.

What distinguishes Switzerland from other countries is the strong and consistent reference to the effect of government action (instead of just the services). Impact measurement is a largely unsolved problem here too, but the basic stance of aligning all measures with impact objectives is undisputed. In addition, the political system in Switzerland allows for an extremely pragmatic, solution-oriented approach.

An evaluation after five years of “new administrative management” (NEF) in the canton of Bern showed that although this increased the transparency of state action, it had not met expectations overall: the planned management of performance and impact targets and the separation between operational and strategic Control is too theoretical and not feasible in everyday political life. That is why political control continues to take place through traditional instruments such as parliamentary initiatives and the budget process.

Latin America

In Latin America , the wave of reforms began in the late 1980s. In many countries it was closely related in terms of time and content to the reorientation of all state action towards a more market-oriented economic and development model. In addition to the desired increase in efficiency and performance, the deepening of democracy and the reduction of poverty and inequality are also among the NPM's goals in Latin America . The reforms have taken place across Latin America, but with varying degrees of intensity and with varying degrees of success from country to country. So far, Brazil and Chile have made the most far-reaching advances. Latin America also compares well with the other developing regions of the world in terms of the following aspects of the NPM reform agenda: citizen participation (especially at the local level), e-government and decentralization . In contrast, there are major deficits with regard to the implementation of meritocratic principles in the public service; regarding the effective implementation of evaluation processes and - despite a wave of privatizations by formerly state-owned companies that has now subsided - in the introduction of market and competition mechanisms in the public sector.

Reception of NPM in Germany: The New Control Model

The international approaches to modernizing the state at the municipal level were perceived selectively in Germany. The German New Control Model in its original version from 1993 shows some essential differences to other national modernization programs: It is noticeable that structural elements in particular have found their way, while process elements have remained neglected - there are also no connecting points for earlier changes in individual policy areas - in contrast to the developments for example in Sweden, Denmark or Finland. Nevertheless, the New Control Model can be defined as a variant of New Public Management ; However, these are limited to the enumerative compilation of the different and sometimes competing, even contradicting elements. A comparison of national modernization approaches, taking into account the institutional framework and starting points of administrative modernization, reveals essential differences.

With the new control model, a conceptual step was taken towards a change in public administration towards a service company. The bureaucratic structural pattern of local government, the strict division of labor and hierarchization - "atomization" - allegedly led to a system of organized irresponsibility, which since the early 1990s has increasingly been seen as a core problem of public administration. The basic ideas of the new control model represent a break with earlier recommendations and reports of the municipal community center for administrative management (KGSt), although since the late 1970s and above all in the 1980s, interesting innovations have developed in individual policy areas, which only to a limited extent were compatible with the traditional administrative structures and processes at the municipal level. Forms of participation and co-determination have been introduced in particular in the “new” creative fields of action of cities and municipalities such as urban redevelopment and renewal, child and youth welfare, municipal employment promotion, but also in traditional, legally-oriented building law. However, these innovations were limited to their policy area and had only a limited impact on the overall design of public administration. They were also not incorporated into the new management model.

The German New Control Model was very much based on the administrative structures and elements of the Dutch city of Tilburg . The KGSt report on Tilburg is so far the only case study that the KGSt has published. In this report, the basic structures and elements of the report on the new management model, published two years later, can already be seen clearly. The report made the so-called “Tilburg Model” known throughout Germany. The fact that Tilburg became the role model for the German New Control Model was more a coincidence than the result of a systematic search for useful solutions for German local government. The main features of the New Control Model are based on an organizational structure of a Dutch city that was “innovative” for the time, with the focus in the KGSt report - and also in the subsequent supplementary and expanded reports - unmistakably on the instruments introduced. The international discussion, commonly summarized under the term “ New Public Management ”, reached Germany only indirectly, although over time, especially on the part of administrative science, a reception of the general NPM - albeit with a delay and without it always in the discourse to be able to insert into practice - took place.


It is criticized (e.g. by Wilson) that NPM is "anti-state", promotes the "dismantling of the state", favors one-sided private creation and fulfillment of tasks ( privatization ) and destroys the foundations of participatory democracy , since the reduction of the citizen to simple customers do not represent a step forward, but an undemocratic step backwards.

The criticism, particularly coming from the academic field, accuses the NPM of assuming too great a similarity between the state and the private sector, although the state is characterized by a monopoly of force and state action has to be geared towards the common good , whereas the business world is striving for profit maximization is marked. This is basically the case in all countries that have followed the - naturally generalizing - label of the NPM.

From the business side (including König, Evans / Rauch, Christensen) it is argued that NPM does not produce any efficiency improvements at all, among other things because they operate with "pseudo-markets", that the reforms are more expensive than any savings (examples from New Zealand and especially Great Britain ; Study by the CEP of the London School of Economics ), and that NPM structures are not up to the tasks, especially with regard to the economy. (Relationship between traditional administration and economic growth; Evans / Rauch).

According to NPM

At the beginning of the 21st century, the problematic aspects of the NPM are scientifically pointed out strongly, whereas in practice, for example in Germany at the level of (especially municipal) administrative reform and internationally through the concept of good governance , it still has a clear impact. Today the question of administrative science is which findings of modern management theories for administrative reforms under which circumstances can be sensibly adopted (Jann). For Germany, the “ Neo-Weberian State ” ( Pollitt / Bouckaert) is emerging as an empirical and normative follow-up paradigm for administrative organization .

Basic literature

  • Dietrich Budäus : Public Management. Concepts and procedures for modernizing public administrations. (= Modernization of the public sector. Volume 2). Berlin 1994.
  • Dietrich Budäus, Peter Gronbach (Hrsg.): Implementation of new accounting and information systems in innovative administrations. 1st North German Conference on New Public Management. Haufe Publishing Group, Freiburg / Berlin / Munich 1999, ISBN 3-448-03961-6 .
  • Werner Jann, Manfred Röber, Hellmut Wollmann: Public Management - Basics, Effects and Criticism. Edition Sigma , Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89404-776-3 .
  • Walter JM Kickert (Ed.): Public Management and Administrative Reform in Western Europe. Cheltenham - Northampton, MA 1997. (Therein especially Kickert, “Public Management in the United States and Europe”: 15–38; König, “Entrepreneurial Management or Executive Administration: The Perspective of Classical Public Administration”: 213–232; Wright , "The Paradoxes of Administrative Reform", pp. 7-13.)
  • Christopher Pollitt, Geert Bouckaert. Public Management Reform. A Comparative Analysis. Oxford 2000.
  • Adrian Ritz: Evaluation of New Public Management . Bern / Stuttgart / Vienna 2003.
  • Kuno Schedler , Isabella Proeller: New Public Management. 5th, corrected edition. Haupt, Bern 2011, ISBN 978-3-8252-3638-0 .

further reading

  • Jörg Becker, Lars Algermissen, Thorsten Falk: Process-oriented administrative modernization. Process management in the age of e-government and new public management. Springer, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-71249-7 .
  • Th. Edeling et al. (Ed.): Public and private management. Fundamentally alike in All Unimportant Respects? Opladen 1998.
  • Peter Evans, James E. Rauch: Bureaucracy and Growth: A Cross-National Analysis of the Effectiveness of 'Weberian' State Structures on Economic Growth. In: American Sociological Review. 64, 1999, pp. 748-765.
  • G. Grüning: Fundamentals of New Public Management. Munster 2000.
  • M. Shamsul Haque: The Diminishing Publicness of Public Service under the Current Mode of Governance. In: Public Administration Review. Volume 61, No. 1, 2001, pp. 65-82.
  • Dennis Hilgers: Performance Management: Performance recording and performance control in companies and public administrations. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8349-0932-9 .
  • Jürgen Kögelmann: New Public Management. Possibilities and limits of the new control model. Wiesbaden VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-15409-1 .
  • K. König: On the criticism of a new public management. Speyer 1997.
  • K. König, J. Beck: Modernization of the state and administration. To the new public management. Baden-Baden 1996.
  • Nick Manning: The New Public Management & Its Legacy. In: Administrative & Civil Service Reform.
  • Henry Mintzberg: Managing Government - Governing Management. In: Harvard Business Review. May-June 1996, pp. 75-83.
  • Frieder Naschold, Maria Oppen, Alexander Wegener (eds.): Innovative municipalities. Stuttgart 1998.
  • Frieder Naschold, Maria Oppen, Alexander Wegener: Top municipal innovations. Berlin 1998.
  • A. Pelizzari: The economization of the political: new public management and the neoliberal attack on public services. Constance 2001, ISBN 3-89669-998-9 .
  • Norbert Thom, Adrian Ritz: Public Management. Innovative concepts for leadership in the public sector. 3rd, completely revised Edition. Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-409-11577-3 .
  • Mathias Binswanger: Senseless competitions. Why we produce more and more nonsense . Herder, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-451-06482-1 .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Media release by the Canton of Bern: Evaluation of the new administration (NEF) - the new administration has not met expectations , July 5, 2011.
  2. ^ Peter Peetz: New Public Management and Democracy in Latin America: Case Study Mexico. Grin Verlag, Munich 2013.
  3. ^ Ag du bist bertelsmann: New Public Management as an overarching concept of the Bertelsmann Foundation - basic elements of the neoliberal administrative reform. In: BertelsmannKritik. Information. Criticism. Action. (Online brochure). ag du bist bertelsmann, 2009, accessed on July 14, 2016 .
  4. ^ Mathias Binswanger: Pointless Competitions. Why we produce more and more nonsense . Herder, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-451-06482-1 .