Publication Date

12-2018

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

9-24-2018

Type of Culminating Activity

Dissertation

Degree Title

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration

Department

Public Administration

Major Advisor

Stephanie L. Witt, Ph.D.

Advisor

Jen Schneider, Ph.D.

Advisor

Stephen M. Utych, Ph.D.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

Research has suggested that citizen engagement in local government decisions is important for sustaining democratic ideals. However, scholars are still working to understand how those responsible for organizing citizen engagement at the local level perceive such efforts. There has also been little work examining how citizen engagement is integrated in strategic planning processes at the municipal level of government. This study aims to address both gaps by investigating contemporary factors impacting government officials’ perceptions of citizen engagement in strategic planning processes. Collaborative Governance Theory (CGT) focuses on creating an environment where community members can develop, debate, and negotiate ideas or concepts that impact their local communities. The theory describes what effective institution, collaboration, leadership, and incentives look like in community engagement processes. In my tristate study (Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming), I examine the practical citizen engagement efforts utilized by city managers and mayors to assess two concepts. First, how well do the engagement methods proposed by CGT explain actual strategic planning processes? Second, do municipal leaders perceive that citizen engagement processes are beneficial to the strategic planning process? Data was collected on a variety of variables drawn from the CGT model, and data related to citizen engagement in municipal strategic planning processes. Data was analyzed using ordinary least squares (OLS), as well as ordinal and binomial logistic regression analyses. Findings indicate that the presence of institutions, collaboration, and leadership, key variables in CGT, increase government officials’ perceptions that citizen engagement in the strategic planning process is both beneficial and impacts the public policy process. The findings also indicate that education and income, which are two key variables used to measure power and resources in the CGT model, are insignificant when measuring government officials’ perceptions of citizen engagement in the strategic planning process. Lastly, the findings of this study suggest that economic and education indicators (average household income, average % with Bachelor’s degree) do not impact citizen engagement in the strategic planning process at the municipal level of government.

DOI

10.18122/td/1495/boisestate

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