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Decision making and influence in a Tasmanian city : a study of the Glenorchy City Council

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Wood, MC 1974 , 'Decision making and influence in a Tasmanian city : a study of the Glenorchy City Council', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Decision making and influence in Australian local government is a field of study neglected to date. This investigation of a Tasmanian local government council sets up two major and several minor propositions about decision making and influence. The propositions concern: (a) the extent to which the decision making process is based on historical factors; or whether the process follows the prescriptions of the rational or incremental decision theorists; and (b) whether some people, for example the staff, are more influential than others.
The organisation, the Glenorchy City Council, is then examined to test the propositions. An eclectic methodology is used. The methodology draws on decision making theory as a means of ordering and analysing the data; and attributed and prescribed influence are investigated with the help of American and British community power studies. One decision - that of the striking of the rate - is studied in detail.
The study proceeds through two major media : observations made by the researcher and data gathered from a questionnaire administered to ten aldermen and nine senior members of the council's staff.
The council's history is discussed briefly with the post-Second World War period being emphasised. The council's decision making procedures are recorded and its membership and attributed influentials delineated.
The striking of the rate is then described and analysed as the decision making process moves through the intelligence, design and choice phases. The men seen by the researcher and the respondents as influential in this decision are isolated.
In the conclusion, the propositions and the data are considered and some conclusions drawn suggesting that the decision making, process is incremental in nature and that one member of staff is more influential than the other staff and the aldermen. The activities of the aldermen and the staff during the striking of the rate are discussed with reference to two traditional concerns of public administration: the roles of elected representatives and permanent officials, and their answerability.
Finally, it is suggested that more research into decision making is required, and that Glenorchy's aldermen and other members of staff would wield more influence on the rate if the nature of the decision was changed from one of keeping the system going to one involving something more.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Wood, MC
Keywords: Glenorchy City Council, Municipal government, Decision making
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1973 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MA) - University of Tasmania, 1974. Bibliography: l. 192-203

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