Latent Hybridity in Administrative Crisis Management: The so-called German "Refugee Crisis" of 2015/16

The so-called "refugee crisis" of 2015/16 imposed political and administrative challenges on Germany, requiring a successful crisis management. Yet, it has not been clarified to what extent this success and the effectiveness of the crisis response depended on the administrations' capacity to shift from routine behaviour to crisis action. A novel comparative study by the University of Konstanz and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, conducted in 235 German *districts* and *district-free cities*, indicates that changes in administrative practices towards more flexible and participatory action had positive impacts on crisis management effectiveness. In particular, severely affected regions with high shares of asylum seekers benefited from flexible measures. This indicates that effective crisis management is dependent on administrations’ ability to adjust their organizational behaviour. More specifically, the expansion of individual discretion, greater flexibility in administrative rules, and the development of innovative forms of interaction with the public and volunteers are important preconditions for effective crisis responses.

The paper was published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and available via open access:

Authors: Steffen Eckhard, Alexa Lenz, Wolfgang Seibel, Florian Roth & Matthias Fatke