Article Analysis
566 Public Administration Review • September/October 2004, Vol. 64, No. 5 George L. Hanbury Nova Southeastern University Alka Sapat Florida Atlantic University Charles W. Washington Clark Atlanta University Know Yourself and Take Charge of Your Own Destiny: The “Fit Model” of Leadership Leadership scholars have theorized that leaders of an organization must have an appropriate “fit” with those they lead and with their environment. Yet, there is no empirical research to date that has explored this belief. We develop a theoretical model to determine the factors influencing the fit of a city manager, indicated by his or her tenure. We argue that six sets of explanations may help determine the fit of the city manager: the manager’s leadership style, his or her personality type, the city manager’s perception about fit, the perceptions of city councils, the demographics of the city managers, and the demographics of the cities where they work. Based on a rigorous nationwide study of city managers, the study shows that the fit of city managers is significantly influenced by two of the six sets of explanations. Implications for scholars, city managers, and practitioners are drawn from the study’s analysis and findings. Many scholars and popular authors in leadership today lament that before one may lead others, one first must understand oneself—a psychology of leadership. However, there has not been much understanding of leadership provided at the local level by city managers. The chief executive officer of municipalities in the council-manager form of government—the city manager—has become, for the most part, an itinerant leader looking for the elusive city with the appropriate “fit.” According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the “mean length of service (for a city manager) is 6.4 years and the median length is five years, so the majority of city managers (responding to the ICMA survey) have served their cities for under six years (Wheeland...