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The Effect of Problem Severity, Managerial and Organizational Capacity, and Agency Structure on Intergovernmental Collaboration: Evidence from Local Emergency Management


Michael McGuire is coauthor (with Robert Agranoff) of Collaborative Public Management: New Strategies for Local Governments (published by Georgetown University Press), which won the 2003 Louis Brownlow Book Award given by the National Academy of Public Administration. His research can be found in many journals, including Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, International Journal of Public Administration, American Review of Public Administration, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Policy Studies Review, Economic Development Quarterly, and others.

Chris Silvia is a doctoral candidate in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University–Bloomington. His research focuses on networks, leadership, and performance management.


Like most public managers nowadays, local emergency managers operate within complex, uncertain environments. Rapid changes in the scope and severity of the issues increase the extent of intergovernmental collaboration necessary to address such challenges. Using a large data set of county emergency management agency directors, variations in intergovernmental collaboration reflect influences from problem severity, managerial capacity, and structural factors. The results demonstrate that public managers who perceive problems as severe, possess specific managerial skills, lead high-capacity organizations, and operate in less complex agency structures collaborate more often and more effectively across governmental boundaries.