Italian mayors and the management of COVID-19: adaptive leadership for organizing local governance

Garavaglia, Christian; Sancino, Alessandro and Trivellato, Benedetta (2020). Italian mayors and the management of COVID-19: adaptive leadership for organizing local governance. Eurasian Geography and Economics (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15387216.2020.1845222

Abstract

Drawing on a survey of 25 mayors of municipalities belonging to the Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy this paper presents an investigation into the main problems they faced during Phase 1 (lockdown) and Phase 2 (post-lockdown, pre-vaccine); the leadership actions they implemented in Phases 1 and 2; and the leadership actions they would prioritize in case of a new emergency. The results contribute to the building of knowledge on local governance and leadership models – specifically regarding conditions of emergency. Four key issues emerged: (i) the importance of adaptive leadership and of anticipatory governance frameworks aimed at providing direction in situations of emergency (e.g. what to do in case of scarce mask availability and/or of local coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19] hotspots); (ii) the importance of promoting institutional spaces for cooperation and collaboration with citizens in their role as volunteers and of other organizational stakeholders willing to contribute to public value co-creation; (iii) the role of technology as an enabler and medium for sharing information and crowdsourcing resources; and (iv) the importance of safe and trusted platforms for knowledge sharing among the mayors and with the relevant organizational stakeholders.

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