Revisiting Bureaucratic Entrepreneurialism in the Age of Urban Austerity: Framing Issues, Taking Risks, and Building Collaborative Capacity

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


More than two decades ago, Schneider et al. (2011) posited that city mayors and managers were emerging as “public entrepreneurs,” helping to advance dynamic policy change in the face of growing external environmental challenges. Their focus on municipal executive entrepreneurship coincided with a larger effort to develop a normative theory of entrepreneurial public management in democratic governance (Bellone and Goerl 1992; Hood 1991; Moore 1995; Osborne and Gaebler 1992). This article revisits the thesis posited by Teske and Schneider (1994, 331) that public entrepreneurs emerge to “help propel dynamic policy change in their community,” and applies it in a contemporary urban governance context. The goal is to better understand how public organizations cultivate and utilize an Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) for value creation and to articulate a more general application of these entrepreneurial activities. To do so, this chapter examines data come from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with city managers in 20 local governments located in the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area. The findings suggest that entrepreneurial strategic processes—problem framing, risk-taking, and collaboration—likely occur concurrently in public organizations, as new problems arise and old solutions move toward entropy. The findings help illuminate the theoretical bases for understanding public entrepreneurialism and the organizational conditions and strategies which sustain this culture.


Entrepreneurial orientation Local governments Public organizations Strategic management Urban sustainability 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA

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