City Executives

Leadership Roles, Work Characteristics, and Time Management

By David N. Ammons & Charldean Newell

Subjects: State And Local Politics
Series: SUNY series in Leadership Studies
Paperback : 9780887069581, 224 pages, December 1988
Hardcover : 9780887069574, 224 pages, January 1989

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Table of contents

Figures and Tables
1. Introduction
Scope and Purpose
What the Book is Not
Organization of the Book
2. An Executive is an Executive is An Executive?
Leadership: What It's All About
What is a Leader?
What Do Executives Do?
In What Envrionment Do They Do It?
Good Genes and the "Right Stuff": Dimensions of Effectiveness
It All Depends on the Situation
3. Contemporary Views of Local Government Executive Roles
Reformism in American Government
City Manager Role Perceptions
Political Leadership
Chief Executive Roles in the Mid-1980s
Comparison with Wright's 1965 Findings
Conclusions about the 1985 Study
4. Not Enough Hours in a Day
Long Hours
Times Allocation
Varied Roles and Fragmented Activities
Demands, Foci, and Activities in Executive Work
Control over Time
5. Analysis of Time Allocation Patterns
Foci of Work
Work Activities
Relationships across Work Dimensions
6. Explaining Variations in the Work of Local Governments Executives
Level of the Job
Public versus Private
Organization Size
Managerial Level
Managerial Dyads
Alternative Explanations for Work Variations
7. Time Management
Where Does the Time Go?
Is There a Better Way?
Stress: The Product of Failed Time Management
A Matter of Style
8. Conclusions
Aspects of Managerial Work
Prospects for Time Management
The Future


This study explores the work life of mayors, city managers, and other top executives in city government. Based on a survey of 527 city executives and enlivened with numerous anecdotes, the book documents time allocation patterns and work routines.

City Executives makes comparisons with previous studies to show how city executives compare with managers in other types of organizations. The authors also note how city managers' role has changed over a 20-year period. City executives are shown to be like their private-sector counterparts. For example, they function at a relentless pace, are frequently interrupted in their work, and are generally overburdened. However, because city workers operate in an environment open to public scrutiny, they are left with only a minority of their professional time to attend to matters that they describe as priorities. Instead, they must constantly respond to intergovernmental demands, emergencies, and the needs of citizens and legislative officials.

David N. Ammons is Research Associate of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. Charldean Newell is Professor of Political Science at the University of North Texas.