Italian city managers: caged leaders?

Sancino, Alessandro; Meneguzzo, Marco and Cristofoli, Daniela (2014). Italian city managers: caged leaders? In: Diamond, John and Liddle, Joyce eds. European Public Leadership in Crisis? Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management (3). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 75–84.



Purpose: This paper aims to explore the behaviour of city managers in the ongoing context of city leadership in Italy where there are high levels of political, economic and social turbulence.

Design/methodology/approach: A survey was administered to 140 Italian city managers, with a response rate of 56%. The main research questions were the following: Who are the Italian city managers? How do they spend their time? Are their actions influenced by political, administrative, management and/or governance-related pressures?

Findings: The results depicted Italian city managers as caged leaders. They feel like they are capable of soaring to great heights outside the boundaries of their organisations, but they are constrained by their day-to-day organisational activities.

Originality/value: This paper offers new empirical insights into thedifferent leadership activities carried out by Italian city managers discussing the differences between the time devoted to some activities and the perception of their leadership style.

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