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Practitioner's Perspective—Managing for 2020: An Exploration of Role Interdependence and Balance


Tansy Hayward is the assistant city manager in Tacoma, Washington. A significant part of her role is working to increase the city's investment in cross-departmental efforts and community partnerships.


This article examines three roles that local governments play: convening community, providing service, and creating and enforcing regulation. The author uses the concept of polarity management to explore how local governments can strike a balance among these roles, and explores how individual employees and organizations can disrupt that balance by favoring individual roles. Particular focus is placed on local government deficiency in employing the community convener or community engagement role.