Community not the Councillors: A Study of Commitment of Australian Senior Council Officers Working under a Politicised Employment Relationship

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Public Administration, 2009, 68 (2), pp. 139 - 151
Issue Date:
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Council officers as public managers are expected to work for the community. Yet, it has been argued that council officers working under a politicised employment relationship are likely to be more committed to the elected councillors than to the community. This proposition has been examined through a survey of senior council officers across Australia and the results are presented in this article. This study develops an analytical approach which combines for the first time the multi-focus and the multiple bases of managerial commitment approaches, applies this to the case of Australian local government managers and finds that although most senior council officers perceive that their employment is politicised they remain committed to the community. Based upon these findings, it is argued that a conceptual framework utilising a combined multi-focus and multiple bases approach is more appropriate to the study of commitment of local government managers and to managers in the public sector in general than the use of either approach alone.
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