The emergence of shared leadership between city managers and mayors in council-manager governments: A grounded theory

by Ricklefs, Dale L., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2013, 387 pages; 3600770


Research over the past thirty years has demonstrated that city councils and city managers in United States council-manager forms of governments share political and administrative responsibilities. As the original intent of this form of government was to separate the roles of politicians and administrators, it is unclear how city managers and mayors negotiate shared leadership roles when leading their cities, roles once conceptually assigned to either the political or administrative realm. The grounded theory study incorporates coding and interpretation of codes based on interviews of city managers, elected mayors, council members, and top administrative and departmental staff members in five council-manager cities located in the southwestern United States. The cities serve populations between 40,000–200,000. The study identifies leadership roles that mayors and city managers perform by themselves or roles where they complement each other based on skills or interests. It also identifies shared roles that either one of them may assume. The results confirm previous studies that mayors and city managers share responsibilities, especially in council management and economic development. The desire to share responsibility, relationship building skills, and respect of boundaries and positions are key contributors providing an environment of sharing. The contexts of form of government, organizational and community history, personalities, staff quality, a trusting work environment, and council support of the mayor and city manager contribute to an environment that facilitates shared leadership development.

AdviserShelley Robbins
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Public administration
Publication Number3600770

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