Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation investigates the meaning of the common perceptions found among Chief Administrative Officers in a recent study, that the success of the CAO position and of the CAO system hinges upon the individual CAO's personal style.;The concept of style in the management and political psychology literatures is critically reviewed. Style is generally found to be either a trait or habit, or a name given to a particular set of responses to a style scale. Situational Leadership and The Managerial Grid are criticized.;The CAO's style is understood to mean the style of the CAO-in-the-organization. Style and organizational culture are elaborated, and are taken to be appreciated by the CAO and the organization's members, in what are termed "conscious/analytic" and "unconscious/intuitive" ways.;The style of the CAO is taken to be dependent upon the CAO's perceived role in the organization. The position and the role of the CAO in the organization are examined in the British, American, and Canadian literatures. Formal analytic approaches to the CAO position, and a formal policy-administration conception of council and staff roles, are found to dominate the literature.;"Managerial approach" is the conception of management style that guides the collection and interpretation of the data. "Approach" comes first from Kotter and Lawrence's 1972 assessment of the effectiveness of 20 American mayors, and second from Kotter's 1982 study of the work patterns of 15 effective private sector general managers. The "agendas" and "networks" of the mayors and general managers are the two basic dimensions of their managerial approaches that are taken from the two studies noted.;CAOs from thirty-seven (37) Ontario municipalities with populations greater than 50,000 were interviewed, and CAOs from 59 Ontario municipalities of fewer than 50,000 people completed a questionnaire that corresponded to the interview schedule.;In conclusion the approaches of the large-municipality CAOs are classified in terms of two dimensions, Individual--Team-oriented, and Bureaucratic--Entrepreneurial. Finally, the implications of the findings of the thesis for further research and for the training of CAOs discussed.



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