Category Archives: Management

City Manager’s Compensation Survey Results

Source: League of California Cities’ city managers Department, in partnership with the the County Administrative Officers Association of California and the International City Management Association (ICMA), 2010

From the Sacramento Bee:
The average pay for a city manager in California is roughly $190,000, according to a just-released survey from the League of California Cities. Of the 468 cities and towns with managers, 90 percent responded to the survey, with more continuing to report.
See also:
Press release
Survey Results of California County Administrative Officer Salaries

Fiscal Stress and Cutback Management Amongst State and Local Governments: What Have We Learned and What Remains to Be Learned?

Source: Eric A. Scorsone and Christina Plerhoples, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 42 no. 2, August 2010
(subscription required)

Form the abstract:
The study of cutback management at the state and local levels, or the management of resources in times of fiscal decline, has evolved since its inception in the 1970s. Throughout this time, scholars have attempted to answer how and why cutback management takes place, as well as its implications for future economic development and fiscal health. However, a dearth of research exists on its use and implications across differing types of governments under differing circumstances. With a current crisis threatening fiscal health at all levels of government, understanding the effects of cutback management choices is more critical than ever. This essay reviews the evolution of the literature and proposes a future research agenda for cutback management analysis.

Managers’ Support of Home-Work Balance Affects Employees’ Health, Study Finds

Source: Deane Beebe, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, 09 September 2010

A new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study found that when long-term care managers are supportive of employees’ needs to balance home and work responsibilities, the employees slept longer and were less likely to have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) than employees whose supervisors were less supportive.

These research findings point to the need for training in management practices, according to the study’s authors.

Florida’s HR Reforms: Service First, Service Worst, or Something in Between?

Source: Elsie B. Crowell and Mary E. Guy, Public Personnel Management, Volume 39 No. 1, Spring 2010
(scroll down)

Despite the original intent of civil service reform as set forth in the Pendleton Act of 1883, some states have implemented reforms that drastically alter the HR function as envisioned by early policymakers. The State of Florida offers an example of such reforms. This paper reports a study of how selected state employees perceive and interpret the outcome of Florida’s 2001 civil service reform and privatized HR administrative processes. Respondents give mixed reports on the civil service reform but uniformly report that it has become more difficult to manage the HR function since it was outsourced.

Hard Lessons from Hard Times: Reconsidering and Reorienting the “Managing Decline” Literature

Source: Barry Bozeman, Public Administration Review, Volume 70, Issue 4, July/August 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Does the public administration research from the late 1970s and 1980s on managing decline contain useful lessons for today’s Great Recession? Do these studies serve our current research needs? Why has decline continued to be a major focus of research in generic management, but not in public administration? The answers to these questions give some clues as to a possible new, revitalized research agenda for our field. Whereas public administration often viewed organizational decline as a self-contained set of problems requiring remedial action, generic management and sociology research on decline tended to view the topic as part of organizational phases and life cycles, linking decline to growth, stability, and change. Viewing decline as part of the organizational life cycle encourages researchers to take a longer view of organizations and their management, and thus its orientation is more strategic than reactive. Three areas of decline studies are identified as relevant irrespective of sector: (1) implications of decline for human resources management, (2) effects of decline on organization structure and design, (3) the relation of strategy and decline.

Linking Management Reform with Employee Job Satisfaction: Evidence from Federal Agencies

Source: Kaifeng Yang and Anthony Kassekert, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 20, Number 2, April 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Recent public management literature has emphasized the influence of public sector characteristics on employee attitudes, behaviors, and performance. This article assesses how recent management reforms, such as contracting out, civil service overhaul (also known as Title 5 exemptions or removal of civil service protections), and managing for results are associated with employee job satisfaction in the federal government. Using the Federal Human Capital Survey 2006 dataset, this article finds that contracting out and Title 5 exemption are negatively related to job satisfaction. Managing for results, operationalized as perceived performance orientation and innovative culture, is positively related to job satisfaction, but the relationship is moderated by employees’ trust in leadership and their perceptions of the effectiveness and fairness of performance appraisal.

Guerrilla Employees: Should Managers Nurture, Tolerate, or Terminate Them?

Source: Rosemary O’Leary, Public Administration Review, Vol. 70 no. 1, January-February 2010
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
“Guerrilla government” is Rosemary O’Leary’s term for the actions of career public servants who work against the wishes–either implicitly or explicitly communicated–of their superiors. This form of dissent is usually carried out by those who are dissatisfied with the actions of public organizations, programs, or people, but typically, for strategic reasons, choose not to go public with their concerns in whole or in part. Rather than acting openly, guerrillas often move clandestinely behind the scenes, salmon swimming against the current of power. Guerrillas run the spectrum from anti-establishment liberals to fundamentalist conservatives, from constructive contributors to deviant destroyers.

Three public managers with significant experience comment on O’Leary’s thesis that guerrilla government is about the power of career bureaucrats; the tensions between career bureaucrats and political appointees; organization culture; and what it means to act responsibly, ethically, and with integrity as a public servant. Karl Sleight, former director of the New York State Ethics Commission; David Warm, executive director of the Mid-America Regional Council of Greater Kansas City; and Ralph R. Bauer, former deputy regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Seattle and Chicago regions, present unique perspectives on the “guerrilla” influence on policy and management, as well as the challenges posed by this ever-present public management phenomenon.

Guerrilla: One who engages in irregular warfare especially as a member of an independent unit.

See also:
Comments by
Karl Sleight
David Warm
Ralph R. Bauer

Crisis communication: A national study of leadership during the financial crisis

Source: Dr. Ruby Rouse and Dr. Richard Schuttler, University of Phoenix, September 20, 2009

From a summary:
Many employees report employers are increasingly using threats and intimidation tactics to cope with the financial crisis, according to a national study of leadership sponsored by the University of Phoenix Office of Research Support (ORS). “We’re told if we discussed layoffs or downsizing, we would be fired – immediately,” one worker said. Another individual observed, “Questions get you written up and/or fired.”

Belligerent behavior is a “disturbing leadership trend in the financial crisis,” according to researchers Dr. Ruby Rouse and Dr. Richard Schuttler (2009), who received a grant to study supervisor communication during the crisis. In the summer of 2009, 1,150 working adults in the United States evaluated the leadership and communication effectiveness of their supervisors. Open-ended comments from employees contained repeated descriptions of threatening communication, such as:

* “Be thankful you have a job.”
* “You can be replaced.”
* “There are lots of qualified people on the street who would love your job.”
* “You never know who will be gone tomorrow.”
See also:
Executive summary

Race and Sex in Organizing Work: ‘Diversity,’ Discrimination, and Integration

Source: Tristin Green, Emory Law Journal, 2009

From the abstract:
This Article provides the first extended analysis of the conscious use of race and sex in decisions organizing work. It takes the position that race and sex are being used in organizing work-in assigning clients and job tasks, in composing work teams, in staffing committees and outreach groups-and that they are being used pursuant to a “diversity” narrative in ways that are likely to entrench workplace inequality. At the same time, it argues that race and sex could be used in those same decisions to reduce workplace discrimination and to further equality in work. Drawing on a rich body of research in sociology, social psychology, and organizational theory, the Article exposes the risks and possibilities of race and sex in organizing work by focusing on the role that social interactions play in producing and reproducing disadvantage and on the role of organizational and institutional structures in shaping those interactions.

Based on this empirical foundation and on the Supreme Court case law governing the use of race and sex in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Article advances a comprehensive approach to the permissibility of race and sex in decisions organizing work. It argues that Title VII permits the use of race and sex in decisions organizing work to serve the goal of reducing employment discrimination, provided that individual race- and sex-based decisions are part of an employer’s systemic integrative effort. This approach recognizes that decisions organizing work differ from decisions at moments of entry, promotion, and exit in ways that matter to an anti discrimination analysis. They are “softer” in that their benefits and harms are not always immediately discernible, and they can impose costs as well as benefits on women and people of color, even when they are intended to (and do) further anti discrimination goals. The approach to Title VII developed in this Article accounts for these differences and offers a unique opportunity to harness the existing business case for diversity to progress meaningful integration in work and to foster reduced workplace discrimination.