The Facilitative Leader in City Hall: Reexamining the Scope and Contributions, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Facilitative Leader in City Hall

Reexamining the Scope and Contributions, 1st Edition

Edited by James H. Svara


414 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781420068313
pub: 2008-12-09
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Two forms of local government are prevalent in American cities. The style of leadership found in mayor-council cities draws attention to the mayor and frequently involves power struggles as mayors attempt to assert control over city councils and city staff. However, the leadership of the mayor in council-manager cities can be less visible and easily overlooked. The Facilitative Leader in City Hall: Reexamining the Scope and Contributions boldly suggests a collaborative model for leadership that identifies what is unique in the council-manager setting. Mayors acting as facilitative leaders can successfully guide their cities drawing on the contributions of the council and the manager rather than attempting to drive them.

Scholar James H. Svara builds on his work in the 1994 book Facilitative Leadership in Local Government, and provides a more critical analysis of the mayor’s office in a wider variety of cities. This book examines the model of facilitative leadership and the importance of vision in explaining the nature of mayoral leadership and its effect on the performance of city government. It analyzes responses from a 2001 national survey of city council members and examines the findings of fourteen case studies of mayors who have served in recent years. The book features ten case studies from council-manager cities, three from mayor-council cities, and one from Denmark that highlights the importance of culture as well as formal structure in understanding leadership style.

This book reexamines facilitative leadership across forms of government and addresses two questions: can mayors without separate formal powers be effective leaders? And alternatively, can mayors with formal powers provide more effective leadership by using facilitative approaches? The unexpected answer to both questions is "yes." As cities face the challenge of adapting to new approaches to governance, all mayors need to lead with facilitation and vision.

Table of Contents

Conceptualizing the Facilitative Model

Reexamining Models of Mayoral Leadership, J.H. Svara

Exploring Conceptual Issues

Defining Facilitative Leadership: Lawrence, Kansas, J. Nalbandian and S. Negrón

Facilitation in its ‘Natural’ Setting: Middelfart, Denmark, R. Berg and U. Kjaer

Mixing Models of Leadership in a Mayor–Council City: Yorkville, Illinois, C. Wood, G. Gabris, and B. Olson

Facilitation in the Council-Manager Form

Switching Roles from Administrator to Mayor:Winston-Salem, North Carolina, K.A. Klase

Guiding Change in a First Ring Suburb: Plano, Texas, D.J. Watson and A.C. Schortgen

Commitment to Engagement: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, V.M. Upshaw

Building a Town and Its Institutions: Midway, Florida, Y. Zhang and K. Yang

Expanding The Scope of Policy Leadership Through Networks: Grand Rapids, Michigan, E.S. Zeemering and R.J. Durham

From Conflict to Cooperation: Auburn, Alabama, W.L. Hassett

Partial Leadership and Alternating Styles: Stockholm, California, R. Benedetti and S. Lambuth

Charting Progress of the Empowered Mayor: Cincinnati, Ohio, J.T. Spence

Beating the Odds or Changing the Odds in a Large City: Phoenix, Arizona, J. Denhardt and M. Vanacour

Facilitation in the Mayor-Council Form

Building Trust and Developing a Vision: Akron, Ohio, R.W. Cox III

The Power to Persuade: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, C.M. Wheeland


Advancing Facilitative Leadership in Practice, J.H. Svara

About the Series

ASPA Series in Public Administration and Public Policy

Founded in 1939, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the premier professional organization for public administration, dedicated to advancing its art, science, teaching and practice. The ASPA book series provides expert information on a range of public administration issues, each authored by a leader in the field. Series Editor David Rosenbloom is Distinguished Professor of Public Administration in the School of Public Affairs at American University, USA.

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