Elements of Strategic Planning and Management in Municipal Government: Status after Two Decades

Authors

  • Theodore H. Poister,

    1. Theodore H. Poister is a professor of public administration in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, where he specializes in strategic planning and management, performance measurement, and quality improvement processes in government agencies, particularly at the state and local levels. Poister's new book, Measuring Performance in Government and Nonprofit Organizations, was recently released by Jossey-Bass. E-mail: tpoister@gsu.edu.
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  • Gregory Streib

    1. Gregory Streib is a professor of public administration in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, where he specializes in local government management and applied research methods. His research addresses strategic planning, pay for performance, health care cost reduction, performance measurement, reinventing government, and the implementation of e-governance initiatives. E-mail: gstreib@gsu.edu.
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Abstract

This article focuses on the use of strategic planning and management processes in municipal governments with populations over 25,000. Strategic planning has been used in municipalities for 20 years now, but little is known about how it is used and the results obtained. In particular, we explore whether municipal governments tie other components of the overall strategic management process to their strategic plans. Findings do not show a dramatic expansion in the use of strategic planning, but there is some evidence of growing sophistication, as demonstrated by links to other management and decision-making activities. Managers were enthusiastic about their experiences with strategic planning and largely satisfied with their achievement of goals and objectives. Overall, we find a raising of the bar as far as strategic planning is concerned, but the use of comprehensive strategic management is only beginning to develop in a small number of leading-edge municipalities.

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