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Public management reform without managers: the case of German public schools

Rick Mintrop (Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of principals in light of public management reforms taking place in the German educational system and in reference to the empirical patterns uncovered by the papers contained in the Special Issue. Policy makers have created new expectations and new technologies that seem to suggest to necessitate a shift from principals acting as rule-bound administrators to acting as entrepreneurial managers. The paper asks if the availability of new managerial technologies is complemented by shifts in role conception or enactment.


The author discusses the papers included in this Special Issue by suggesting one possible overarching frame for the German situation as documented by the papers and contrasting this frame with the situation in the USA.


The Special Issue papers reviewed in this paper ask if the principalship in Germany across various states has become more managerial, and the author’s conclusion is that it has not. The author suggests that in Germany, managerialism and professionalism may accommodate each other in ways uniquely German, perhaps without making the principalship more managerial.


This paper sketches a way to conceptualize the role of the principal in the tension between Weberian bureaucracy, public managerialism, and professional self-governance.



Mintrop, R. (2015), "Public management reform without managers: the case of German public schools", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 790-795.



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