ERIC Number: ED213618
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Politicization of American Local Executives: City Managers, Planners, and Superintendents.
Wirt, Frederick M.; Christovich, Leslie J.
The major purpose of this research was to determine if recent demand for more popular participation in local decision making has altered the urban executives' perceptions of their power position in local governance. The data for analysis consisted of responses to a national mail questionnaire conducted in early 1981 from city managers, planning directors, and school superintendents. Findings indicated that all three types of executives perceived an increase in local demands. Superintendents reported the largest increase. Neither the community context of the executives nor the administrators' experience explained the perceptions of increased local public demands. While perceiving more group demands, the executives have not found this participation inhibiting. All three executive types perceived heavily increased policy involvement and most reported increases in acceptance of their judgments by both political authorities and citizens. Two major reasons may be offered for these results. First, since these executives are also professionals, they receive their normative values and cues for action from professional networks as well as from politicians and citizen groups. While the local power context may strain these professional signals, these norms persist while local activity often does not. Second, the muffling of group turbulence may also arise from the segmented nature of the urban political system. While greater group demands may exist, they may be unfocused and contradictory, resulting in little policy influence. (Author/RM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association (New York, NY, September 3-6, 1981) and at the Urban Research Conference of the International Sociological Association (Essen, West Germany, October 2-4, 1981). Not available from EDRS in paper copy due to poor reproducibility of original document.