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Understanding Innovation in Municipal Government: City Council Member Perspectives

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Municipal governments have been elevated to a new status in the American federal system due to devolution of federal and state responsibilities to the local level and the widespread recognition that they are the governments most capable of innovative behavior. While we know that local governments are likely to engage in innovation, we do not know what contributes to the perceived success or failure of those innovations. The central focus of this article is to explore the factors that contribute to managerial innovation in municipal governments in Wisconsin, as perceived by council members in their respective communities. Using multiple regression procedures we determine that managerial leadership and policy board‐administrative relations explain a significant amount of variation for innovations dealing with privatization, customer service, and strategic planning. We demonstrate that the credibility of executives and board‐staff relationships is an important determinant of innovative behavior in local government.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2: Siena College 3: Northern Illinois University

Publication date: February 1, 2003


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