Public administration

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The public administration , including Administrative called, is by Otto Mayer , the activities of the State or other support of public administration that neither legislation ( legislative ) or jurisdiction ( judiciary is), nor political government activities ( Gubernative exercises). According to this, the public administration is that part of the executive that carries out public tasks . It is the administrative part of the executive.


The bureaucracy theory according to Max Weber functions as an organizational theoretical model for public administration . The results of public administration are known as administrative performance. Public administration as an interdisciplinary object of investigation is the subject of administrative science .


Public administration has certain characteristics and, according to Ernst Forsthoff, can be described rather than defined.

The actions of the administration are bound by law and order ( Art. 20 (3) GG). According to the principle of the legality of the administration, the administration may not act without legal authorization ( reservation of the law ) and not in contradiction to existing legal regulations ( primacy of the law ). This also includes a certain distribution of responsibilities .

The agents of the administration are the authorities , which are structured hierarchically . The execution control ( service , legal and technical supervision ) is the responsibility of the respective higher authority or the top management. The highest authorities at the federal and state level are the ministries , the top administration is the respective minister . In the system of separation of powers, the top management is accountable to an elected body ( parliament ), for example the mayor as the main administrative officer of the city ​​administration to the local council .

Concept of public administration

Public administration deals with the administration of the state. The term administration distinguishes between administration in the organizational sense, administration in the material sense and administration in the formal sense.

Administration in the organizational sense

Administration in the organizational sense means the administrative apparatus, i.e. H. the organization of the administration in administrative bodies , administrative bodies and all other administrative bodies.

Management in the material sense

Administration in the material sense is state activity that has the material perception of administrative matters as its object, regardless of the administrative agency or body involved. Previous attempts to define the term did not fully delimit the term or were differentiated, but very abstract.

According to this, public administration in the material sense is, for example, "the manifold, conditional or only purpose-determined, i.e. insofar externally determined, only partially planning, self-involved, decisive executing and shaping perception of the affairs of communities and their members as such by the community administrators appointed for this purpose" or "as the organs of executive power and certain legal entities assigned to them, independently responsible and constant execution of the tasks of the community through concrete measures in legal connection according to (more or less specified) a given purpose. "

Administration in the formal sense

Administration in the formal sense means all activities carried out by the administrative authorities, regardless of whether they are of a materially administrative nature such as the issuing of an administrative act or a statutory ordinance .

Legal bases

The administrative law covers all legal norms relating to the structure, responsibilities and powers of the administration and the legitimacy of the stage for their activities.

The general administrative law regulates procedures and legal institutions that apply uniformly for the whole administration. The special administrative law includes the legal bases for the individual sub-areas of administration, such as civil service law , police law or commercial law .

In contrast to these legal norms with external effect , administrative regulations ( decrees , circulars , service instructions ) have basically no effect on the citizen. As so-called internal law, they only regulate internal processes within an administrative body, such as the cooperation between various organs . Exceptions can result from the self-commitment of the administration .


Based on the historically oldest task of protecting the respective territory externally and internally and securing its financial basis, intervention management ( regulatory and tax management ) is one of the classic fields of action of public administration. In the 19th century came Steering administration for promoting economic prosperity through trade and industry, and finally the power management of a modern welfare state added that the social security of citizens through support of individuals (eg. As social assistance ) and the provision of public services of general interest guaranteed.

The demand management is the procurement of staff and equipment for the management activity.

Recently, the public administration has also been expected to perform its tasks “ sustainably ”.

Porters and staff

Triangle with the federal government at the top, including in layers the federal states, optional administrative districts, (rural) districts, optional municipal associations and municipalities.  The strict stratification is broken up by city-states and district-free cities, which perform tasks of several strata.Bund Bundesländer/Flächenländer Bundesländer/Stadtstaaten (Regierungsbezirke) (Land-)Kreise Gemeindeverbände (Gemeindeverbandsangehörige/Kreisangehörige Gemeinden) (Gemeindeverbandsfreie) Kreisangehörige Gemeinden Kreisfreie Städte
Vertical state structure of Germany

According to the federal administrative structure in Germany, the public administration bodies are the federal government , the states and the municipalities .

If the administration by own authorities exercised by the Federation or of the countries, it is called direct state administration . This also includes government operations and own operations . If, on the other hand, independent legal entities ( corporations , institutions or foundations under public law ) as well as entrusted (authorized) entrepreneurs are active, for example a master chimney sweep , TÜV or DEKRA , one speaks of indirect state administration .

A total of around 4.2 million civil servants and employees are employed in the German public service .

Federal administration

Public administration in Germany

The direct federal administration is entrusted with the implementation of all matters which, according to the Basic Law , fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government ( Art. 87 to Art. 89 GG). It has a total of 316,500 employees. Below are some federal authorities and their number of employees:

In addition, there are 186,600 soldiers who are not registered as members of the administration but are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, and almost 80,000 THW members who are subordinate to the Federal Ministry of the Interior .

There is also the indirect federal administration. This includes the employees of corporations, institutions and foundations under public law under federal supervision and the employees of the Bundesbank .

The federal administration has given up a considerable proportion of its employees since 1990. First of all, the postal reform transferred all employees of the postal authorities to the private-law units of Post , Telekom and Postbank ; with the railway reform , the former authority of the Federal Ministry of Transport was also transferred to private structures (with the exception of the federal railway assets ). In addition, German air traffic control was privatized.

State administrations

Since the states are entrusted with the vast majority of administrative tasks in Germany ( Art. 30 GG), the state authorities and the affiliated companies are the outstanding part of public administration in terms of staffing levels. 2.3 million people work in the 16 German state administrations, specifically:

Only public employees are given for the universities. A total of 488,700 employees work at universities and another 189,200 employees in their affiliated clinics .

Local governments

The communities in Germany manage all local community affairs in their own sphere of activity . This right of self-government is guaranteed to them in the Basic Law ( Article 28, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law). In addition, they perform state tasks assigned to them by law in the assigned sphere of activity .

The municipal task structure distinguishes between:

The municipalities of an area are counties (in some countries circles called) joined forces to cope more effectively to higher-level tasks (in particular mandatory tasks). From a certain number of inhabitants, which varies depending on the federal state , cities are independent. In addition to districts, there are other municipal associations for special tasks , such as the landscape associations in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony . The supervisory bodies of these corporations are made up of local representatives and are financed by contributions from the local budget .

In summary, the local governments employ 1.57 million people, divided into the following areas:

  • general administration (249,000)
  • public safety and order (115,000)
  • Schools (128,000)
  • Science, Research and Culture (86,000)
  • social security (281,000)
  • Health, Sport and Recreation (84,000)
  • Construction, housing, transport (138,000)
  • public institutions, business development (155,000)
  • Hospitals (278,000)
  • other (58,000).

Forms of administrative action

The public administration usually fulfills its tasks in a legal form under public law , i. This means that it acts on the basis of legal provisions that can be assigned to public law. The Administrative Procedure Act applies to the public administration activities of the authorities ; the administrative courts are responsible for all public-law disputes of a non-constitutional nature ( Section 40 (1) VwGO ). Public-law pecuniary claims and administrative acts are enforceable by way of administrative enforcement ( § 1 , § 6 of the Administrative Enforcement Act ).

However, benefit administration tasks can also be carried out under private law (private administrative law ). The administration also acts according to private law (for example according to the sales law of the BGB ) when it comes to covering its own needs, the so-called fiscal auxiliary business such as the procurement of office supplies .

If public administration tasks are transferred to natural or legal persons under private law, one speaks of lending .

Public administration tasks can also be performed by natural or legal persons under private law without the responsibility of the administration being lost. In this case, the public administration engages the private third party as an administrative assistant .

The demarcation of public and private law is judged according to the modified subject theory .

Systematic representation:

Reform efforts

The reform of the public administration occupies the administration itself and the administrative sciences as well as a not inconsiderable number of consulting firms - not to forget the KGSt ( communal joint agency for administrative management ).

The reform goals are both to increase effectiveness and citizen-friendliness as well as to consolidate the budget . Due to the sometimes enormous downsizing, which can only be absorbed to a limited extent by privatization or the use of modern office communication technologies, structural adjustments in the administrative organization are often necessary in addition to administrative process optimization. Whether this can compensate for the downsizing depends on the individual case.

Task criticism

A basic distinction can be made between functional reforms in the distribution of tasks, administrative structural reforms such as the enforcement of territoriality and regional reforms .

Internal reforms

The strict hierarchy leads to an authoritarian structure within the administration. Authorities therefore often work in a way that is based on a division of labor and decisions follow fixed official channels . The management of the administration is therefore very formal and, due to its politically oriented management top, is not essentially geared towards economic goals. The lack of economic principles can also be seen in the fact that the financial system is organized in a cameralist manner: budgets are often politically negotiated. At least in the area of local government , the budgets in almost all federal states are currently being converted to commercial bookkeeping ( new communal financial management ).

A factor that is increasingly viewed as a problem today is the regulatory incentive system. Since everyone should have access to the public service and the services of the administration have no market, the administration uses auxiliary variables ( assessments ). In these assessments it is not always clear which services are expected and to what extent good behavior is rewarded. In the absence of a performance definition, there are no performance-related incentives, particularly of a monetary nature. Instead, internal prestige is often measured in terms of the size of the authorities, departments or budgets. The civil service law reflects the requirements of the Basic Law on public employees. For those inexperienced in administrative matters, it is seen as a hindrance to administrative innovations or professional initiatives. Changes are on the way here due to the introduction of elements of modern personnel management in public administration. The new TVöD provides incentives for employees in the public sector , and these are also to be transferred to civil service law.

European administrative area

The European Union is not only striving for a legal community, for example with the concept of a common area of ​​freedom, security and justice , but is also increasingly developing into an administrative community. In this context, the term of the European Administrative Space ( Engl. European Administrative Space ) on the one hand the harmonization of national administrations by developing common standards in the administrative procedure in legal and management organization, on the other hand, an intertwining of national administrations with the EU administration and a bi - or multinational cooperation between national administrative areas, for example in geographical border regions. A further subject is the forms of EU self-administration towards Union citizens , a member state authority or a member state itself.

Initiated by the Maastricht Treaty and the latest EU expansion to the east , the European administrative area is currently characterized less by a common policy than by intensive scientific research into individual developments and the attempt to systematize and control them.

See also


  • Klaus König, Heinrich Siedentopf (Hrsg.): Public administration in Germany. 2nd Edition. Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden 1998.
  • Thomas Ellwein : History of Public Administration. In: Political Science. Contributions to the analysis of politics and society. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 1987, ISBN 978-3-531-11927-4 , pp. 20-33.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Otto Mayer: German administrative law , 1895. Digitized in the German text archive
  2. ^ Jörg Bogumil , Werner Jann : Administration and administrative science in Germany. Introduction to Public Administration. Wiesbaden 2005.
  3. ^ Iryna Spektor: The public administration . Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  4. ^ Hinnerk Wissmann: General Clauses. Administrative powers between legality and open norms. Mohr Siebeck, 2008, ISBN 978-3-16-149555-7 .
  5. a b c d Hartmut Maurer: General administrative law. 2014.
  6. ^ Herbert Strunz: The administrative term. In: Design of public administrations. Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 1993, ISBN 978-3-642-52078-5 , pp. 3-35.
  7. ^ Hans J. Wolff , Otto Bachof , Rolf Stober , Winfried Kluth : Administrative Law Volume 1. 13th edition. Munich 2016.
  8. ^ Klaus Stern : The constitutional law of the Federal Republic of Germany: Volume II, 1980, p. 738.
  9. Klaus König: Critique of Public Tasks Speyerer Research Reports 72, 1988.
  10. Stefan Schaltegger , Berno Haller, Astrid Müller, Johanna Klewitz, Dorli Harms: Sustainability Management in Public Administration. Challenges, fields of action and methods Leuphana University of Lüneburg , September 30, 2009.
  11. Federal Statistical Office : 2014 Personnel Statistics , Public Service Personnel, p. 15., accessed on March 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Mario Martini : The instruments of action of the public administration . Knowledge-Map 4 / II, 2008 (PDF; 91 kB)
  13. Klaus König (Ed.): German administration at the turn of the 21st century. Baden-Baden: Nomos publishing house
  14. Klaus König: Critique of Public Tasks Speyerer Research Reports 72, 1988.
  15. Kerstin Magnussen: Personnel development as a success factor. Great challenge of human resource management in the public sector ( Memento from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Publicus, 2014/7.
  16. Ulrich Stelkens : The European Administrative Area ( Memento from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) German Research Institute for Public Administration , accessed on March 4, 2016.
  17. SIGMA project of the OECD , website accessed on March 4, 2016.
  18. cf. For example, Section III European administrative cooperation §§ 8a to 8e Bavarian Administrative Procedure Act (BayVwVfG) ( Memento of 5 March 2016 Internet Archive ) of 23 December 1976 as last amended by Art. 9 para. 1 Bavarian E-Government Act of 22. December 2015 (GVBl. P. 458)
  19. Ulrich Stelkens : Forms of EU self-administration in direct enforcement of EU law (and in the European administrative association) ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) German Research Institute for Public Administration , accessed on March 4, 2016
  20. ^ Eckhard Schröter: European administrative area and reform of the public sector. In: Handbook on administrative reform. Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 978-3-8100-4082-4 , pp. 510-518.
  21. Wolfgang Kahl: The European administrative network: structures - types - phenomena. Der Staat, Vol. 50, Nr. 3 (2011), pp. 353-387.