COCOPS Executive Survey on Public Sector Reform in Europe – Views and Experiences from Senior Executives - Full Version

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Hammerschmid, Gerhard (Hertie School of Governance Berlin)
Other Title
  • Datenbestand für on-site Nutzung (Subtitle)
Publication Date
  • Hertie School of Governance Berlin led the design of the survey and coordinated the data collection. In each participating country a national team collected the respective country data. Belgium: Geert Bouckaert, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Data Collector)
  • Austria: Renate Meyer, Stephan Leixnering, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Institute for Public Management (Data Collector)
  • Croatia: Tomislav Mičetić, Mirjana Štraus, Ministry of Public Administration (Data Collector)
  • Denmark: Carsten Greve, Niels Ejersbo, Copenhagen Business School (Data Collector)
  • Estonia: Tiina Randma-Liiv, Riin Kruusenberg, Tallinn University of Technology (Data Collector)
  • France: Philippe Bezes, Patrick Le Lidec, Gilles Jeannot, National Center for Scientific Research, CNRS (Data Collector)
  • Finland: Turo Virtanen, Helsinki University (Data Collector)
  • Germany: Gerhard Hammerschmid, Anca Oprisor, Hertie School of Governance Berlin (Data Collector)
  • Hungary: György Hajnal, Corvinus University (Data Collector)
  • Iceland: Pétur Berg Matthíasson, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (Data Collector)
  • Ireland: Richard Boyle, Institute of Public Administration (Data Collector)
  • Italy: Edoardo Ongaro, Bocconi University (Data Collector)
  • Lithuania: Rasa Snapstiene, Rimantas Rauleckas, Kaunas University of Technology (Data Collector)
  • Netherlands: Steven Van de Walle, Erasmus University Rotterdam (Data Collector)
  • Norway: Per Lægreid, Lise Hellebø Rykkja, University of Bergen (Data Collector)
  • Portugal: Maria Engrácia Cardim, Luis Mota, Technical University of Lisbon (Data Collector)
  • Serbia: Irena Cerovic, Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (Data Collector)
  • Spain: Judith Clifton, José M. Alonso, University of Cantabria (Data Collector)
  • Sweden: Petter Kockum, Gabriella Jansson, Statskontoret, Swedish Agency for Public Management (Data Collector)
  • United Kingdom: Rhys Andres, James Downe, Cardiff University (Data Collector)
  • ZA:
    • Government, Political System
    • Political Attitudes and Behavior
    • Budget and Fiscal Policy
  • CESSDA Topic Classification:
    • Government, political systems and organisation
    • Elites and leadership
    • Employment
    • Health policy
  • Abstract

    The COCOPS Executive Survey on Public Sector Reform in Europe is a survey of public sector senior executives in twenty European countries. The survey provides quantitative data regarding public administration reforms and their impacts in Europe by exploring the perceptions, experiences and opinions of the actors strongly involved in the conception and implementation of reforms. General Information. Management and work practice of the organisation. Public sector reform and the fiscal crisis. Attitudes, preferences, and personal information. Topics: 1. General information: type of organisation; policy area the organisation works in; number of employees; kind of position in the organisation (hierarchical level); self-assessment of role as public sector executive. 2. Management and work practice of the organisation: work autonomy: degree of autonomy with regard to selected work tasks (e.g. budget allocations, promoting staff, etc.); used instruments (e.g. quality management system, etc.; goal clarity (goals clearly stated, goals communicated to staff, high number of goals, easy to observe and measure activities, mainly measure inputs and processes, mainly measure outputs and outcomes, rewarded for achieving goals, clear sanctions for not achieving goals, politicians use indicators for monitoring performance); use of performance indicators; frequency of interaction with various actors or bodies (responsible Minister, other politicians, administrative superiors and higher administrative levels, direct staff, subordinate agencies and bodies, etc.); assessment of collaboration in own policy fields between: national government bodies within the same policy area and from different policy areas, national and local / regional government bodies, national and supra-national bodies / international organisations, government bodies and private and voluntary sector stakeholders); view on selected statements regarding politicians and public administration (politicians respect technical expertise of senior executives, politicians regularly influence senior-level appointments in the organisation, politicians interfere with routine activities in the organisation, senior executives, not politicians, initiate reforms or new policies, removing issues and activities from politics produces better policies); coordination approach (e.g. refer issue upwards in the hierarchy or to political actors and bodies, set up special purpose bodies, etc.); characterization of staff (e.g. engage in open and honest communication with one another, share and accept constructive criticism, etc.); attitudes towards work and towards the organisation (e.g. satisfaction from work, feel valued for the work, etc.). 3. Public sector reform and the fiscal crisis: assessment of development of public administration in the country compared with 5 years ago; importance of selected reform trends in own policy area; design and dynamics of administration reforms (top down vs. bottom up, consistent vs. inconsistent, comprehensive vs. partial, driven by politicians vs. by senior executives, crisis and incident driven vs. planned, substantive vs. symbolic, contested vs. supported by unions, cost-cutting vs. service improvement, no vs. high public involvement, unsuccessful vs. successful, too demanding vs. not demanding enough, 10-point scale); performance outcomes of public administration over the last 5 years on selected dimensions (e.g. cost and efficiency, service quality, innovation, etc.); fiscal crisis: general approach to savings in response to the fiscal crisis; cutback measures; effects of the fiscal crisis (power of the Ministry of Finance has increased, decision making in organisation centralized, budget planning unit gained power, conflict between departments in organisation increased, power of politicians in the decision making process has increased, relevance of performance information increased). 4. Attitudes and preferences: public sector values: value trade-off (quality - efficiency, equity -efficiency, following rules - achieving results, customer focus - citizen orientation, state provision - market provision, tax financed - user fees, 7-point scale); motivation: importance of various occupation characteristics like interesting work, high income, etc.; individual attitudes (success depends on ability, I like taking responsibility for making decisions, I make decisions and move on, importance of being creative and thinking up new ideas, avoid anything that might upset the status quo, importance of being successful, like to take risks, most people can be trusted); subject of the highest educational qualification; seniority: number of years the respondent has been working in the public sector, in the current organisation and in the current position; work experience in the private sector and in the non-profit sector. Demography: age (categorized), sex; highest education level. Additionally coded was: country; ID.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2012-05-23 / 2015-04-30
  • 2012-11-13 / 2012-12-07
  • 2012-06-05 / 2012-07-31
  • 2014-02-17 / 2014-03-28
  • 2013-11-18 / 2013-12-18
  • 2012-06-01 / 2012-07-16
  • 2014-02-17 / 2014-03-09
  • 2012-05-23 / 2012-06-22
  • 2012-05-25 / 2012-06-29
  • 2012-06-08 / 2012-07-06
  • 2014-02-18 / 2014-03-10
  • 2013-09-25 / 2013-10-28
  • 2012-06-01 / 2012-07-16
  • 2013-05-13 / 2013-06-10
  • 2012-07-12 / 2012-11-01
  • 2012-06-07 / 2012-10-15
  • 2015-03-23 / 2015-04-30
  • 2012-11-15 / 2013-02-28
  • 2013-06-03 / 2013-08-15
  • 2012-06-04 / 2012-10-15
  • 2013-11-04 / 2013-12-09
  • 2012-06-11 / 2012-07-27
    United Kingdom
Geographic Coverage
  • Austria (AT)
  • Belgium (BE)
  • Denmark (DK)
  • Estonia (EE)
  • Germany (DE)
  • Spain (ES)
  • Finland (FI)
  • France (FR)
  • United Kingdom (GB)
  • Croatia (HR)
  • Hungary (HU)
  • Ireland (IE)
  • Iceland (IS)
  • Italy (IT)
  • Lithuania (LT)
  • Netherlands (NL)
  • Norway (NO)
  • Poland (PL)
  • Portugal (PT)
  • Serbia (RS)
  • Sweden (SE)
Sampled Universe
Top and medium-high level civil servants who, in their respective positions, are most likely to hold the relevant knowledge regarding (NPM-type of) reforms and developments within the public sector. The sample covers all top and higher-level public sector executives as follows: In central government ministries and subordinated agencies, the two first administrative levels were covered; when deemed necessary due to policy relevance, also third levels were addressed. Local government and service delivery levels were excluded. In the policy areas of employment and health in particular, as the project’s special focus areas, regional and state government ministries and agencies were also included if relevant – without addressing however direct service delivery levels.
Sampling Procedure Comment: Total universe/Complete Enumeration
Collection Mode
  • Self-administered questionnaire: CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview) Self-administered questionnaire: Paper
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 210
Further information on the FP 7 COCOPS research project can be found at the website: (please note in particular the information regarding Work Package 3, including a full research report on the purpose, design and implementation of the survey).
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA6598 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Hammerschmid, G., Van de Walle, S., Andrews, R., Bezes, P. (eds.) (2016). Public Administration Reforms in Europe: The View from the Top. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Hammerschmid, G., Van de Walle, S., Andrews, R., Bezes, P., Anja Görnitz, A., Oprisor, A. & Štimac, V. (2013). Public Administration Reform in Europe – Views and Experiences from Senior Executives in 10 Countries. WP3 Cross-national Report as part of the COCOPS Research Project. Available at

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 19 | Registration Date: 2016-04-21