Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Affairs and Administration
Dr. Robert Peters
Dr. Matthew Mingus
Dr. Richard Ghere
The purpose of this research is to explore the nature of local government decision making. Six Michigan cities, selected from respondents to an International City/County Management Association (ICMA) privatization survey, are the basis of this multi-case study examining the decision to privatize public services.
Classical decision-making theory is used to identify six foundational elements from which to analyze the privatization decision: (1) identification of theproblem(s) that triggered the decision to consider privatization; (2) the solutions considered; (3) the processes or mechanisms used to make the decision; (4)the environment in which the decision was made; (5) the identification of the key participants, their role in the decision-making process, and what effect they had on the decision; and (6) the evaluation of the decision to privatize. From these foundational elements, the research identifies the most dominant of fourdecision-making models: rational, bounded rational, public choice, and contingency theory. The research also identifies internal and external environmental factors that play a part in local governments' decisions. The primary data in this research are in-depth interviews with local government managers, board members, and department heads. Secondary data sources are used to collect additional information and to analyze interview data for consistency.
Rich, David L., "A Heuristic Study of the Decision to Privatize Local Government Service" (2006). Dissertations. 980.