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Palgrave Macmillan

Public Administration in Germany

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Examines the present situation of Public Administration in Germany
  • Explains the main characteristics and features of decentralized Public Administration
  • Analyses the recent challenges and reforms of the German Public Administration landscape

Part of the book series: Governance and Public Management (GPM)

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Table of contents (22 chapters)

  1. German Public Administration in the Multilevel System

  2. Politics, Procedures and Resources

  3. Redrawing Structures, Boundaries and Service Delivery


About this book

This open access book presents a topical, comprehensive and differentiated analysis of Germany’s public administration and reforms. It provides an overview on key elements of German public administration at the federal, Länder and local levels of government as well as on current reform activities of the public sector. It examines the key institutional features of German public administration; the changing relationships between public administration, society and the private sector; the administrative reforms at different levels of the federal system and numerous sectors; and new challenges and modernization approaches like digitalization, Open Government and Better Regulation. Each chapter offers a combination of descriptive information and problem-oriented analysis, presenting key topical issues in Germany which are relevant to an international readership.


“Public Administration in the Western sphere, and beyond, wouldn’t be what it is without the German legal tradition of the ‘Rechtsstaat’, or Max Weber’s ‘bureaucracy’. This book shows not only the foundations of the German system. It also explains, comprehensively and convincingly, how the German ‘model’ is transforming and adjusting to current and future challenges, while keeping solid principles of rule of law, democracy, and welfare state. Therefore, this book is a lighthouse for all those studying PA and reforming systems.”

Geert Bouckaert, Professor, Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium, and Past-President of the International Institute of Public Administration (IIAS)

“Everything you always wanted to know about public administration in the country which fathered modern bureaucracy! This book is the indispensable reading for those students, scholars and practitioners who seek to understand the fascinating administrative engine under the hood of the political, social and economic success of contemporary Germany.”

Jean-Michel Eymeri-Douzans, Professor, University Science Po Toulouse, France. President of the European Group of Public Administration (EGPA)

“This book is an awesome attempt, covering such significant issues as the historical underpinnings, inter-governmental relationships and other pragmatic policy problems that Germany is currently facing. We ought to congratulate German academics for their successful compilation of this outstanding volume.”

Akira Nakamura, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, and Past-President of the Asian Association for Public Administration (AAPA)

“Our global understanding of public administration begins one country at a time. I am therefore pleased to welcome publication of this book. It is an authoritative resource for anyone seeking to understand German systems, particularly ‘outsiders’ like me. This book will be the standard reference for German administrative systems for decades.”

James L. Perry, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Editors and Affiliations

  • University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

    Sabine Kuhlmann, Isabella Proeller

  • Ministry of Labour, Women, Health, Social Affairs of the German Land Saxony-Anhalt, Magdeburg, Germany

    Dieter Schimanke

  • German Research Institute for Public Administration, Speyer, Germany

    Jan Ziekow

About the editors

Sabine Kuhlmann is Professor of Political Science, Public Administration and Organization at Potsdam University, Germany, Vice President of the IIAS for Western Europe, and Vice-Chair of the National Regulatory Control Council of the German Federal Government. Her areas of research include comparative public administration, public sector reforms, better regulation and local government.   

Isabella Proeller is Professor for Public and Nonprofit Management at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Her areas of research comprise public management reforms, strategic management and performance-oriented control in public administration.

Dieter Schimanke is former Professor of Public Administration at the Helmut-Schmidt-University in Hamburg, Germany. He became Secretary of State in a state in East Germany after unification and since his retirement, he is Senior Expert in projects of GIZ on reforms of Public Administration (mainly in Eastern Europe and Asia).

Jan Ziekow is Professor of Public Law and the Director of the German Research Institute for Public Administration, Germany, Vice-President and former President of the German Section of IIAS. He is a former Member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration, and member of various Government and Parliamentary Commissions and Committees.

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