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FSD1185 Finnish Municipal Manager Survey 1996

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Authors

  • Ståhlberg, Krister (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Sandberg, Siv (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Pikkala, Sari (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)

Keywords

competitive tendering, decentralization, intergroup conflict, leadership, local government, local government officers, management, municipal mergers, political parties, priorization, privatization, public administration, public officials, social influence, subcontracting

Abstract

The survey charted municipal managers' perceptions of their own jobs. The data were collected as part of the European UDITE Leadership Study aimed at local government Chief Executive Officers. The respondents were asked about experiences of stress in the job and the importance of different aspects in daily work. These aspects included creating ideas and visions, guiding employees in daily duties and providing the chairman of municipal executive board with political advice. It was also canvassed which sources have contributed to their development as managers, for example, other municipal managers, magazines and publications in their field or interaction with the Association of Finnish Local Authorities. The respondents also assessed the importance of different factors in the organisational change process. These factors were, for example, wide participation of employees, the speed of reorganisation and securing the support of trade unions. The respondents evaluated how the attractiveness of municipal manager's job has changed during past ten years.

Opinions on the activities of the chairman of municipal executive board and leading local politicians as well as the interrelationship between the chairman and politicians and division of duties between them were probed. The respondents were asked about the time that the chairman had held the chair continuously, his/her membership in municipal council and chance of being re-elected. They also rated the status of the chairman within his/her own political party and answered to different attitudinal statements about the chairman's activities. These statements included his/her participation in managing administrative duties, relations with residents and ways of policy making. They evaluated how the important leading politicians should consider some of their tasks, for example, by following citizen views, consolidating administration and obtaining and distributing State grants. Perceptions of negative factors (conflicts between certain groups, economic and social problems and pressure from different quarters) that had affected municipal manager's job were charted.

The municipal managers assessed the development of municipal organisation and of the relationship between local authorities and the State during the past ten years. They were asked whether their municipality had privatised or contracted out its operations and how important that had been in terms of reducing the number of municipal employees. They evaluated whether municipal organisation had become more centralised or decentralised during the past ten years, how the delegation of tasks from local politicians to officials had developed and how the relationship between the State and local authorities had altered. The municipal managers also answered to attitudinal statements which focused on the strategies of making municipal operations more efficient. These strategies included municipal mergers, privatisation and competitive tendering. In addition, the respondents were asked about how different actors (e.g. chairman of municipal executive board, municipal managers, the media and the State authorities) influenced the budget and economic development of the municipality. They also assessed how often they communicated with certain actors (e.g. chairman of municipal executive board, leaders of political opposition, residents and the media), and how important, conflicting and co-operative the relations with them were. Finally, the respondents were presented with questions on the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the importance of certain personal qualities.

Background variables included degree of urbanisation of the municipality, region, the respondent's year of birth (categorised), gender, length and level of education, membership in a party or a trade union, and occupations of parents when the respondent was 15 years old. The respondents were also asked how many years they had held their position.

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