Summary One

Posted: December 2nd, 2013





Summary One

            The article “Elements of Strategic Planning and Management in Municipal Government: Status after Two Decades” explores the application of planning and management procedures in municipal governing entities that have populations of over 25,000. A survey was carried out to determine the relevance of strategic planning in municipalities. Strategic planning and management in municipal governments is crucial since it creates efficiency in these systems. Government policy requires municipal governments to employ the use of strategic planning and management approach to maximize efficiency. However, research shows that the application of strategic planning is not always easy to achieve. The article’s point of discovery begins from the determination of what strategic planning is its purpose in municipalities, and its use among other factors.

Strategic planning is used to uphold a desirable balance between an organization and the environment within which it operates over a long period. Strategic planning works only when planned action is effectively linked to implementation. A survey given to municipal managers revealed that out of 512 managers only 44 percent employed strategic planning. However, the 44 percent reported that not all strategic plans were implemented. Strategic plan is effective when relevant stakeholders are involved with 60 percent of the local governments that responded affirming that citizens, politicians and other stakeholders were involved in strategic planning processes.

Another important factor in strategic planning is the elements used on creating a strategic plan. The respondents of the survey indicated that the most frequently used elements of strategic planning were development of goals and objectives, vision for the future, which was followed by a review of organizational mission goals and finally developing action plans. Implementation of strategic planning requires applying strategic management practices that are divided into four levels. These levels tie into how planning allocates resources, how the municipalities manage their performance and the processes involved in measuring their performance. The results of the survey indicated that strategic planning had helped municipal governments to operate their cities more effectively therefore achieving beneficial result for the municipalities.

Summary Two

            The article “Effects of Economic Development Strategies in Local Municipalities” by Robbie Waters through survey explore the effects of economic development planning in municipalities that employ them. It has been suggested that economic development planning can be the solution to all the problems facing a community. Literature in economics reveals that effective economic development planning is believed to reduce unemployment rates. In this regard, job creation for the community drives cities to practice economic development strategies and policies. To determine the effectiveness of economic development plans, the article compares the status of cities that employ economic polices to those that do not. This is done by comparing unemployment rates over a five-year period.

A survey conducted by International City/Council Management in 1999 and 2004 on chief administration officer in US cities with over 10000 and counties with a population of over 50000 reveal that localities that have written down economic development plans, on an average achieve a reduction in employment rate by 0.76 percentage points. It was also determined that areas with written business strategies had experienced a higher level of unemployment than areas without this form of planning by a 1.16 percentage points. Depending on the model used, the statistical significance is dramatically changed affecting the unemployment rates in the cities.

The main aim of economic development planning remains to be growing economically sustainable communities that will create employment opportunities. However, the results acquired from the survey suggest that economic development plans need to be revised to suit the needs of the community. Therefore, the results raise questions as to the relevance of economic development planning in local governments. The results achieved in the survey also suggest that local governments do not employ strategic applications in implementing their economic plans. The evidence also brings into question the commitment of municipal authorities in implementing their plans for the cities they run. In view of the questions raised, future research should aim disambiguating the results and include more parameters that will make to enrich the research and settle the questions that have arisen in research.

Summary Three

Competing and Cooperating across State Borders in Economic Development: A Call for ‘‘Coopertition’’ by Jon Lombard and John Morris discuss the importance of cooperation of local and state government in economic development. Successful economic development is expected to provide tangible benefits for members of the community within a state or locality. This is seen by the ability for these entities to attract business. Competition however has moved from regional competition to national and international proportions. The essay proposes that competition and cooperation are not opposing forces but rather necessary ingredients to economic success. Considering the relevance of the two, the term coopertition is formed to describe the dual nature of government incentives in aiding economic development.

Competition in the past among states for economic developments has been seen to create winners and losers. However, governments have come to the realization that the competition is beneficial to all involved when resources are pulled. Therefore, economic development necessitates a competitive element. Coopertition is an essential part of economic development that seeks to make use of the advantages inherent by cooperating with other governments. It is important to note that coopertition results in the creation of a new economic unit that is not only bigger and better, but also offers its participants a resource base that is unmatched by smaller entities that are competing.

The Federal system in America creates a distinction in the political realm with well-defined borders. The hierarchical political structures in the government create levels of competing entities within this structure. From the national level, we derive the states vertically. However, competition exists in the horizontal layer where we have the states competing for economic development. This is the stage at which coopertition for economic development is at its best. The use of cooperation in developing economies has served the well in the United States. Local governments work together in an aim to maximize on benefits imagined in economic development.

To achieve the necessity of coopertition, states may make informal agreements or understandings or even interstate compacts. Interstate compacts, however, are not popular because of the formality that goes with creating such an arrangement. Therefore, this is not the right approach to coopertition. In conclusion, the nature of economic development provides rich ground for study. It is evident that the individual forces in competition do not have as many benefits as coopertition does. Individualism undermines economic development. In this sense, it is necessary to explore the benefits of coopertition in enhancing cross-border economic success.

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