Sustainability requires reversing human-caused degradation of the planet’s carrying capacity through a litany of economic, ecological and societal governance adjustments. Local governments interested in sustainability have tended to adapt strategic planning techniques or processes which identify a local government’s mission, goals and objectives and link them to a desired vision, direction and outcomes.
Sustainability requires reversing human-caused degradation of the planet’s carrying capacity through a litany of economic, ecological and societal governance adjustments. Local governments interested in sustainability have tended to adapt strategic planning techniques or processes which identify their mission, goals and objectives and link them to a desired vision, direction and outcomes. The MGMT Lab is focused on understanding how managers formulate long-term sustainability strategies, develop the capacities to carry them out, and assess progress.
Public managers serve many sovereigns, work within fiscal constraints, and face competing demands for finite resources. This article applies a strategic management lens to local government sustainability capabilities to examine the conditions under which local governments diversify into new areas of service delivery and when they do not. Building on recent efforts to apply resource‐based theories to the public sector, the authors distinguish between more and less fungible capabilities and posit that local government officials make such commitments to enhance the competitiveness of their communities. Two surveys of U.S. cities provide evidence that governments that rely on tax incentive‐based development approaches may struggle to make sustainable development gains. Such cities are more likely to devote resources disproportionately to delivering benefits to firms at the risk of incurring increasing opportunity costs over time. Prior commitments to traditional, firm‐based economic development capabilities appear to inhibit their ability to pursue broader sustainability policies. However, economic development strategic planning can also positively influence some investments in greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Moreover, cities facing more competition for development are more likely to integrate planning and performance measurement to assess their sustainability commitments.
More than two decades ago, Schneider et al. (2011) posited that city mayors and managers were emerging as “public entrepreneurs,” helping to advance dynamic policy change in the face of growing external environmental challenges. This article revisits the thesis posited by Teske and Schneider (1994, 331) that public entrepreneurs emerge to “help propel dynamic policy change in their community,” and applies it in a contemporary urban governance context. The goal is to better understand how public organizations cultivate and utilize an Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) for value creation and to articulate a more general application of these entrepreneurial activities. The findings help illuminate the theoretical bases for understanding public entrepreneurialism and the organizational conditions and strategies which sustain this culture.
Despite the portrayal of bureaucratic organizations as resistant to change, public managers have some ability to strategically move land‐use processes out of incrementalism, even when bureaucratic lethargy acts as a drag. This article examines managerial influence in land‐use policy by synthesizing theories of political markets and punctuated equilibrium. An information‐processing logic is developed to explain why local government managers shift from “inward” to “outward” land‐use management strategies in periods of environmental change.
Local governmental efforts to achieve greater sustainability have come to play a prominent role within urbanized regions. Despite the prominence of collaboration and collective action in the inter-governmental literature, we know little about how the collaborative mechanisms used to address them are influenced by the configurations of horizontal, general-purpose governments and vertical, single-purpose governments. We combine national- and metropolitan-level analyses through a mixed-methods design to fill this lacuna. These analyses offer evidence that more fragmented regions may be better suited to overcome coordination risks and find more avenues for collaborative activities. However, preference heterogeneity within fragmented environments increases the risk of defection and thus offsets some advantages of polycentricity.
Urban sustainability has become a burgeoning practical and scholarly enterprise over the last two decades. We advance our understanding of urban sustainability by synthesising extant empirical findings to gauge progress made towards developing theoretical insight, and then testing a nonparametric predictive model that helps overcome methodological challenges in this literature. We find that although organisational capacity appears to be the most important predictor, the broad range of activities grouped under the banner of ‘urban sustainability’ rely on distinct causal mechanisms, and use of composite models and measures of sustainability may hinder theoretical advancement.
Why should cities focusing on cutback management and competition for tax revenues be expected to devote all but the fleetest of attention to carbon footprints or metropolitan-wide environmental or social problems? Utilizing survey data of U.S. cities and a Bayesian methodological approach, we present evidence that municipal job-recruitment efforts reduce the probability of observing an overall sustainability policy commitment. Cities which placed greater emphasis on retaining and developing existing businesses are also more committed to sustainability
Public administration scholars have argued the need for a ‘general theory’ linking strategic management to the context in which public organizations operate (O’Toole and Meier 2014). Understanding the interplay between organizational contexts and strategic management responses to urban sprawl and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions remains an underexplored avenue for empirical advancement of this goal. We find public organizations harness political, administrative, and community capacities in varied combinations to better achieve their policy objectives, but these influences may not be complimentary. Also, policy comprehensiveness generally relates to more strategic activity, while municipal executive turnover offers opportunities and threats to some smart growth strategies.
Local government innovations occur within environments characterized by high service-need complexity and risk. The question of how broader environmental conditions influence governmental willingness or ability to innovate has been a long-standing concern within organizational, management, and policy scholarship. This study focuses on the conditions both within and across city boundaries in urban regions which inhibit adoption of sustainable development innovations.The analysis finds service-need complexity and capacity within local governments’ organizational task environments have nonlinear influences on innovation in terms of both green building and social inclusion policy tools.
Do local policymakers strategically use delay in permitting development to forestall the growth machine? We utilize novel Bayesian multilevel modelling of data collected from 2007 and 2015 surveys of Florida city planners and find strong institutional effects and multilevel relationships.
Local government managers face fundamental, value conflicts when they engage urban land use issues. Local governments are routinely asked to balance economic, ecological, and social equity concerns when making choices between alternative land use policy tools. Differences between manager and mayoral executive leadership shape public management strategies, comprehensiveness, and inclusionary motives linked to land use policy tool utilization before and after the housing boom of the mid-2000s. However, management turnover mitigates this effect. Moreover, managerial influence is not evident at the housing bubble’s peak, which we argue is an important caveat to the empirical evidence on form of government.
Many counties in the U.S. federalist system have morphed from a limited role in service delivery to a workhorse for municipal-style local government. They also facilitate development and sprawl, helping to shape development patterns of the modern fragmented metropolis. Utilizing panel data of county land-use changes in Florida, this study finds evidence that the decisions are shaped by both external competition for growth and internal institutional incentives. Fragmentation fuels more leapfrog development patterns on the urban fringe. However, these fragmentation effects are also influenced by modernized institutions in counties such as home-rule charters and form of government.
Metropolitan Governance and Management Transitions Laboratory resources