We seek to understand, describe, and explain how public organizations are managed and led. Levels of analysis are the organization as well as individual managers and professionals with management tasks; individuals are also considered collectively as groups. We focus primarily on state and municipal core administration, but also on public enterprises. Administrative management is generally viewed holistically, even if selective (e.g. functional) aspects are examined.
Our aim is not only to understand, describe and explain scientifically, but also to contribute to the further development of public management practice with the corresponding research results and thus to contribute to performance improvements in public administration. Fundamental to this is the assumption that the management of public organizations has a significant influence on their performance. Performance is not only understood as efficiency (cost-effectiveness in the sense of the cost-benefit ratio of decisions), but also more broadly in the sense of other success criteria such as effectiveness (in the sense of the effectiveness of administrative action as well as the degree of goal achievement), quality of public services and infrastructure, satisfaction of the addressees, legitimacy, sustainability and transparency of administrative action.
The focus of our research is on three main topics. First, we want to understand, describe, and explain what public managers actually do, how they do it, and why - especially in addressing the challenges they face in their context. Second, we are interested in the processes and routines of public management, as well as in the processes of change and their communicative dimension in public organizations. Third, we want to fundamentally understand, describe, and explain how strategic management, control of the resource base, and organizational capabilities of administrations affect their performance.
From our perspective, the three topics are closely related and ultimately cannot be considered independently. Moreover, we are of course aware that, given our very limited capacities, we can only selectively examine individual aspects in this context.