Can Managerial Turnover Be a Good Thing? The Impact of City Manager Change on Local Fiscal Outcomes

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6 Scopus citations


A long line of private sector research outlines the positive and negative impacts of employee and managerial turnover on organizations. However, public administration scholars often treat turnover as a phenomenon to be avoided and focus more on the antecedents of managerial turnover than on its consequences for public organizations. Within the context of local government, the impact of city manager turnover on organizational outcomes is unclear. This article identifies how city manager turnover influenced local fiscal outcomes during the Great Recession. Analysis of 165 council-manager municipalities in California, more than one-third of which experienced turnover during the height of the recession, allows for empirical examination of the impact of turnover during the test period of 2008-11 on local fiscal outcomes in 2011 and 2012, specifically the degree and incidence of budget deficit spending. The results demonstrate that managerial turnover may lead to better fiscal outcomes, conditional on how long the new manager has held the position. This suggests that while cities that hired new managers during the recession did better than those that did not, the earlier in the recession a manager was hired, the better.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Administration Review
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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