Elected Representatives and Management in local Government: A case of applied sociology and applied economics*

Authors


  • *

    This is a revised version of a paper originally given as a lecture to a public meeting of the South West Group of the Royal Institute of Public Administration on 27 January 1970, in Exeter.

Footnotes

  • 1

     Examples of the literature include: R.A.Ward Operational Research in Local Government, Allen & Unwin for the RIPA, 1964; T.P.Sherman O & M in Local Government, Pergamon, 1969; J.M.Rogers Management and Management Techniques with Particular Reference to Local Government, IMTA, 1968. For examples of management courses see B.C. Smith and J. Stanyer Administrative Developments in 1969: A Survey’, Public Administration, Vol. 48, Autumn 1970, p. 348.

  • 2

     The word ‘management’ is systematically ambiguous. It may refer to (a) the activity of managing, administering or organizing, (b) to the members of the organization who are primarily concerned with this activity (‘the management’) or (c) the study of this activity - ‘management’ as a discipline or academic subject. To avoid confusion in this article when the subject is intended the word management will be italicized.

  • 1

     It will probably have been noticed that the questions quoted earlier as examples of those dealt with in management in local government are traditional questions which were frequently asked long before the present trend could be discerned. An explanation of the origins and intellectual status of the two types of literature dealing with the same subject matter is given in J.Stanyer, Administrative Theory, Routledge and Kegan Paul, forthcoming.

  • 1

     A simple extension of this argument to other types of organization is easily made. Any discussion of ecclesiastical management or banking administration must be based on the special features of churches or banks, for instance.

  • 1

     Anyone who has tried to teach the course for the optional paprr Management in the Public Services (with Special Reference to Local Government) for the Diploma in Municipal Administration, Part Two of the Final Examination, will testify to this. See J.Stanyer, ‘Management in Local Government’, South Western Review of Public Administration, No. 4, 1968, pp. 3–10, and the reply by J.D.Stewart and Dudley Lofts in the following issue.

  • 1

     The approaches are distinguished here as pure strategies but in practice it is possible to combine the two in varying degrees. However, the elements of each strategy will be distinct even when mixed with elements of the other.

  • 2

     See L. Urwick and E.F.L. Brech, The Making of Scientific Management, Pitman, 1948, Vol. I, chs. 312.

  • 1

     In A Comparative Analysis of Complex Organizations, Free Press, 1961, A.Etzioni argues that complex organizations can be classified into three prevalent types - coercive, utilitarian and normative - on the basis of (i) the means of control at the disposal of the leaders of the organization (kinds of power), and (ii) the motives for obedience by lower participants (kinds of involvement). The degree of selectivity varies very considerably from type to type of organization and the systematic selection strategy is most profitably used in utilitarian organizations. The latter correspond approximately to organizations which employ people on a full-time basis as their occupation, and there is no doubt that within them a systematic selection procedure can be very effective, but the question does arise whether a council (as opposed to the local authority's permanent staff) is a suitable context. A clear inference from the analysis of this paper is that this is not the case.

  • 2

     If the tests are to play their part properly, they must meet two logical criteria of effectiveness; they must be both valid and reliable. Most psychology books explain what these words mean. See for instance, L.E.Tyler, Tests and Measurements, Prentice-Hall, 1963.

  • 3

     The general relationships between selectivity, socialization and control are discussed in Etzioni, op. cit., esp. ch. 7 and A.Etzioni, Modern Organizations, Prentice-Hall, 1964, ch. 7.

  • 1

     In the context of management in local government this is a very important attribute of the analysis. The questions of what constitutes a good council member and what ought he to do involve value judgements. It is most unfortunate that discussion of these value judgements tends to obscure the importance of the mechanisms by which the valuations would have to be implemented. In effect, to show the virtual impossibility of the successful operation of a systematic selection strategy in this context is to make irrelevant the debate over the quality of council members. It is of course a fatal defect in the Maud Committee's Report that it did not specify the activities that make up the proper role of an elected representative, but even if it had, its achievement would have been vitiated by the considerations set out here. As the argument is a general demonstration it does not matter what the substance of the specified roles is.

  • 1

     P. J.Fletcher concluded that class and sex of candidates have a negligible effect on the outcome of local elections in urban areas. See L.J.Sharpe (ed.), Voting in Cities, p.319.

  • 1

     The relationships between selectivity and socialization are discussed by Etzioni, op.cit. pp. 151–160. For an example of the importance of the time factor see M.Janowitz, The Professional Soldier, The Free Press, 1961, and A.Etzioni, Modern Organizations.

  • 2

     The Maud Committee figures give an average of 52.2 hours per month spent on public affairs by all types of council member, but only 22 per cent. of this is shown as being spent in attendance at council and committee meetings. See the Maud Committee Report, Vol. 2, pp. 91ff.

  • 1

     See Etzioni, op. cit. pp. 172–174.

  • 1

     I have adopted a slightly different definition of ergonomics than is conventional. This is because I am concerned with the logic of the activities rather than with the work of management specialists or consultants who claim to be using ergonomics. In management the writings of practitioners tend to present all the specialized administrative techniques together or to claim very wide boundaries for their own speciality. This is perfectly reasonable from the point of view of the practice of administrative reform - anything which is relevant and correct ought to be done - but is destructive of the development of a discipline.

  • This characterization of ergonomics picks out a basic activity whose nature is quite distinct from others and which corresponds to a central and peculiar element in what is normally called ‘ergonomics’.

  • 1

     See the Maud Committee Report, Vol. I, virtually everywhere. Examples include p. 37, ‘Demands on the time of members should be sparing and should be confined to those matters which are their responsibility’ and p.39, ‘They must act as guardians of the public interest’.

  • 1

     The use of logical models is discussed briefly and illustrated in two articles by the present author. See J.Stanyer, ‘Social and Rational Models of Man: Alternative Approaches to the Study of Local Elections’, The Advancement of Science, Vol. 30, No. 126, June 1970, pp. 399–407; J. Stanyer, ‘Electoral Behaviour in Local Government: A Model of a Two-Party System’, Political Studies, Vol. 18, NO. 2, June 1970, pp. 187204.

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