Intended Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)


Dr. Mary Whitman


This was an exploratory study that examined the different managerial archetypes among city managers in cities that were at different stages of their development cycles. Past research has identified the archetypes of the neutral management expert, community facilitator/broker, public entrepreneur/community builder, politician, and caretaker/conserver. In addition, the various management skills as identified by Riccucci (1995) and Linn (1984) were analyzed. These include political skills, management and leadership skills, situational factors, experience in government, technical expertise, and strategy and personality.

The cities studied, all in Minnesota, included two growing communities, two mature communities, and two communities that were in decline. Cities had to meet four out of five criteria that were identified in literature as being relevant to defining development cycles. Minneapolis and Saint Paul were excluded because they did not have city managers.

A qualitative model was used to undertake this exploratory research. Extensive interviews were completed with the city manager, the mayor, and the most experienced city council member of each city. The interviews searched for relationships and areas of substantial commonality.

The conclusions appear to reveal that managers are very aware of their archetypes and that each attempts to match their archetype to their respective community's development cycle. In addition, city councils, in their early recruitment of a manager, seek individuals who fit their current development stage.

Managers in cities in their growth stage tend to be entrepreneurs/builders. Managers in cities in the mature stage lean toward the neutral competence archetype; however, they clearly float between archetypes as needed. Finally, managers of declining communities tend to be facilitators/brokers and/or entrepreneurs/builders.








School of Business Student Theses and Dissertations