Business and Administration Occupations – Findings About Differences and Similarities in Their Requirements and Mentalities

  • Franz KaiserEmail author
  • Silvia Annen
  • Michael Tiemann
Part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (TVET, volume 24)


In Germany, a change in the economic structure happened similar to nearly all western economically highly developed industrial nations: A growth of the service sector and a decrease in the production sector. Due to the increasing number of business and administrative occupations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as to demographic developments, a discussion has emerged about how many different occupations and training regulations are needed in this field.

The paper is based on findings of a research project at the German Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).To find similarities and differences of these occupations, we used a broad methodological approach during a four-year project. This approach included a detailed qualitative analysis of all the training regulations and curricula for the training part in schools, an employee survey, a historical and sociological study, and a comparative study of German-speaking countries.

Our project revealed that the similarities between these occupations clearly outweigh the differences, with nearly all of them having in common controlling, accounting and commercial management, as well as processing information and communication with clients. On the other hand, though, a detailed analysis also showed a number of differences, such as the particular mentalities and competences in the various vocational branches. Based on the similarities between qualifications and on the findings of the comparative study, we suggest developing key curricula for all business and administration occupations. They would give qualified skilled workers more opportunities in the labour market and help to recognize the outcome of VET-based training for university degrees. Finally, a more critical look at the bundle of qualifications in those occupations opens a lack of ethical reflections concerning the way things happen in the economic business.


Generic Skill Training Occupation Service Trader Management Occupation Training Regulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Annen, S., & Tiemann, M. (2015). Qualifikation und Selbstverständnis von kaufmännisch Tätigen – Ergebnisse einer quantitativen Befragung. In R. Brötz & F. Kaiser (Eds.), Kaufmännische Berufe – Charakteristik Vielfalt und Perspektiven (pp. 149–169). Bonn: W. Bertelsmann Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. Bloom, B. S., Engelhart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H., & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I, cognitive domain. New York: David McKay Company.Google Scholar
  3. Brötz, R., & Kaiser, F. (2014). Innenansichten und Perspektiven der kaufmännischen Berufsfamilie. WSI-Mitteilungen, 1, 34–42.Google Scholar
  4. Brötz, R., & Kaiser, F. (2015). Berufsbildungstheoretische Konzeption der Tätigkeiten und Qualifikationen kaufmännischer Angestellter. In R. Brötz & F. Kaiser (Eds.), Kaufmännische Berufe–Charakteristik Vielfalt und Perspektiven (pp. 49–90). Bonn: W. Bertelsmann Verlag.Google Scholar
  5. Catrina, W. (2011). Kämpfen, Lernen, Feiern. 150 Jahre Kaufmännischer Verband Zürich. Zürich: Orell Füssli Verlag.Google Scholar
  6. Dahrendorf, R. (1959). Class and class conflict in industrial society. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dreyfus, H., & Dreyfus, S. (1987). Künstliche Intelligenz. Von den Grenzen der Denkmaschine und dem Wert der Intuition. Reinbek b. Hamburg: Rowohlt.Google Scholar
  8. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  9. Haipeter, T. (2011). Kaufleute zwischen Angestelltenstatus und Dienstleistungsarbeit–eine soziologische Spurensuche. Industriesoziologische Expertise kaufmännisch-betriebswirtschaftlicher Berufe. Accessed 19 Jun 2015.
  10. Hall, A., Siefer, A., & Tiemann, M. (2014). BIBB/BAuA employment survey of the working population on qualification and working conditions in Germany 2012. Research Data Center at BIBB (ed.) GESIS Cologne (data access). Bonn: BIBB.Google Scholar
  11. Jordanski, G., Kaiser, F., & Schwarz, H. (2014). Fortbildungsberufe für kaufmännische Führungskräfte auf operative Ebene. Ein Werkstattbericht zu berufsübergreifenden Qualifikationen und Verordnungsstrukturen. Berufsbildung in Wissenschaft und Praxis, 4, 48–51.Google Scholar
  12. Kaiser, F. (2014). A basis for core qualifications in business and administrative occupations in Europe? Findings regarding similarities and differences in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Presentation at the ECER-Conference, 4 Sep 2014, Porto.Google Scholar
  13. Kaiser, F., & Kock, A. (2015). Kaufmännische Fortbildungsberufe: ihre Ziele, ihre Charakteristik und konzeptionelle Reformbestrebungen auf der Basis ihrer Gemeinsamkeiten. In R. Brötz & F. Kaiser (Eds.), Kaufmännische Berufe–Charakteristik, Vielfalt und Perspektiven (pp. 129–150). Bonn: W. Bertelsmann Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Kock, A. (2013). Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede kaufmännisch-betriebswirtschaftlicher Aus- und Fortbildungsberufe (GUK) – Kontrastierung schweizerischer Berufe. Wirtschaft und Erziehung, 65(4), 134–144.Google Scholar
  15. Kotthoff, H. (1997). Führungskräfte im Wandel der Führungskultur. Quasi-Unternehmer oder Arbeitnehmer. Berlin: Edition Sigma.Google Scholar
  16. Lederer, E. (1912). Die Privatangestellten in der modernen Wirtschaftsentwicklung. Tübingen: Mohr.Google Scholar
  17. Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum Qualitativ Social Research 1(2). Accessed 19 Jun 2015.
  18. Rauner, F. (2007). Practical knowledge and occupational competence. European Journal of Vocational Training, 40(1), 52–66.Google Scholar
  19. Reinisch, H. (2011). Geschichte der kaufmännischen Berufe. Wissenschaftliches Diskussionspapier des BIBB 125. Bonn: BIBB.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für BerufspädagogikUniversität RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)BonnGermany

Personalised recommendations