Municipal informatics: An analysis of female and male city manager survey responses pertaining to social demographics, preparation and social networks
City managers are increasingly influential policy makers in a growing number of cities. While men have traditionally held the position, there is now an adequate cohort of female city managers to study. A questionnaire was sent to all female city managers in the United States, a set of female assistant city managers and a selected matched number of male city managers and assistant managers. The study compares social demographics, perceived adequacy of educational preparation and mentor relationships and perceived access to information and social networks.
This study identifies several differences among male and female city managers. Women in city management are younger and better educated than the average man in the same job. They have been with their present employer a similar number of years as their male counterparts, but are being paid less. Women are dramatically more conscious of gender in job performance and confident of the positive traits they contribute, as females, to the position of city manager. Whether or not these traits, in fact, exist or are gender related is not explored by this study, but the findings do reveal a perception of gender differences and self worth. The women surveyed understand that it is connections and informal networks that fuel promotion and job performance, but do not perceive a women's network.
Beyond the obvious academic interest in city government and gender studies, the findings may prove relevant to: municipalities as they attempt to improve organizational policies and communication processes; universities, who may enhance curriculum based on the research findings; and women who are interested in exploring the nature of their networks and considering the implications for social network enhancement.