‘Governance Fatigue’ and Public Mismanagement: The Case for Classic Bureaucracy and Public Values

  • Wolfgang SeibelEmail author
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)


The scholarly discourse about public administration has been shaped in recent decades by an anti-Weberian approach which left many students of the public sector unsatisfied due to its one-sidedness and a resulting distance towards real-world governmental agencies and the way they function. After all, public administration, on the one hand, remains hierarchical, rule-bound and ‘bureaucratic’ in nature as characterized by Max Weber. On the other hand, classic bureaucracy is far less monolithic, hierarchized and rule-bound than its stylized textbook version may make us believe. Bureaucratic governance requires autonomy, discretion, institutional integrity and a sense of responsibility among the leadership. To neglect these classic ingredients of bureaucracy may imply to neglect its classic virtues as well. This chapter illustrates this risk with an empirical case of public mismanagement in Germany that claimed the lives of 21 people.


Bureaucracy Public mismanagement Institutional integrity Public values 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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