We define integrative leadership as bringing diverse groups and organizations together in semitransparent ways ? and typically across sector boundaries ? to remedy complex public problems and achieve the common good. Our framework highlights in particular the leadership roles and activities of collaboration sponsors and champions. The framework is illustrated with examples from the development of Metros, a geographic information system that promotes better public problem-solving in the Minneapolis-SST. Paul region of the US. A set of propositions is offered to guide further research and to romp reflective practice. 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keyboards: Integrative leadership Cross-sector collaboration Collaborative leadership Public value Public leadership Many major public problems or challenges ? such as global warming, HIVE AIDS, economic development, poverty, and homelessness ? can be addressed effectively only if many organizations collaborate. Collaborators would include governments certainly, but often must include businesses, nonprofit organizations, foundations, higher education institutions, and community groups as well.
Leaders and managers in government organizations thus face the need to inspire, mobile, and sustain their own agencies, but also to engage numerous other partners in their problem-solving efforts. As we see it, this is the basic challenge of integrative public leadership ? defined as bringing diverse groups and organizations together in semi-permanent ways, and typically across sector boundaries, to remedy complex public problems and achieve the common good.
We have argued elsewhere that such problems are often due to the characteristic failings of government, business, and civil society and that sustainable remedies must draw on the characteristic strengths of each sector while overcoming or minimizing their weaknesses (Bryon & Crosby, 2008). In other words, the power to adopt and actually deliver effective solutions is shared among sectors and organizations within the sectors. Integrative public leaders will have to lead across sector boundaries to foster the requisite relationships and resource flows needed to produce desirable outcomes.
Several analysts (e. G. , Cleveland, 2002; Crosby & Bryon, 2005) have provided insights about leadership in this “shared-power, none-wholly-in-charge world,” an increasingly apt descriptor in the early years of the 21st century. Scholars also have made headway in considering the implications for government power, authority, and responsibility in such a world. What does it mean, they have asked, when so- called “public” problems spill beyond government’s power and authority, yet citizens still look to democratic governments to help solve them?
Cleveland (1 977, 1993, 2002) was among those who a few decades ago first began popularizing the term “governance” to describe arrangements (regimes) in which government bodies share power with other types of organizations to create significant achievements of lasting public value (Kettle, 2002, 2009; Light, 2002; Osborne, 2010). A substantial body of scholarship now describes how public administrators create and manage collaborations among governments, businesses, and nonprofits. Indeed, collaborative public management has become a hot topic (e. . , Goldsmith & Egger, 2004; Grafton, 2007; Bingham & O’Leary, 2009; O’Leary & Bingham, 2009; and Kettle, 2009). Much of this work builds on a long-standing tradition of Corresponding author. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, 130 Humphrey Center, 301 19th Eve. S. Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail addresses: [email protected] Du (B. C. Crosby), [email protected] Du (J. M. Bryon). 1048-9843/$ – see front matter @ 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. DOI:10. 1016/j. League. 2010. 01. 003 212 B. C. Crosby, J. M.
Bryon / The Leadership Quarterly 21 (2010) 211-230 research into public-private partnerships and other cross-sector policy “tools” (Osborne, 2010; Salomon, 2002). At the same time, leadership language and scholarship have been remarkably scarce in the academic literature on collaboration, although the literature typically does highlight implicitly the roles of what we call sponsors and champions. Huzzah and Vantage (2005) are an exception in their focus on leadership as enacted through the “media” of people, processes, and structures.
We agree with them in part, but see leaders as agents as well as media. In addition, a National Academy of Public Administration- sponsored book (Morse, Buss, & Kingston, 2007) brings together a number of scholars who discuss public leadership in collaborative settings. Christie and Larson (1994) and Christie (2002) offer guidance for collaborative civic leaders; Linden (2002) also describes qualities of government and nonprofit leaders engaged in cross-agency collaboration. This article adds to the growing attention to leadership among scholars of public administration and governance.
It also builds on the work of leadership scholars who are increasingly describing the existence of, and increased need for, shared, collective, and distributed leadership within organizations and networks (see Pearce & Conger, 2003; Lull-Been, Marion, & McKinley, 2007; Spain and Folly, this issue). The article presents a framework for understanding integrative leadership in cross- sector collaborative settings in which government is typically an important actor, but not the only actor.
The starting point is a widely cited cross-sector collaboration framework and set of propositions developed by Bryon, Crosby, and Stone (2006). That framework consists of five main elements: initial conditions, process, structure and governance, contingencies and constraints, and outcomes and accountabilities. The framework addresses factors affecting cross-sector collaboration in general, and is not focused specifically on leaders and leadership. The revised framework presented here acknowledges that leaders and leadership are crucial in integrating all aspects of the framework.
Said differently, we argue that leadership work is central to the creation and maintenance of cross-sector collaborations that advance the common good. The revised framework builds on an extensive literature review, as well as on our subsequent research into cross-sector collaborations (Bryon, Crosby, & Stone, 2007), particularly in the areas of employment (Stone, 2007), urban transportation systems (Bryon, Crosby, & Stone, 2008), and regional geographic information system development (Bryon, Crosby, & Bryon, 2009).
The revised framework draws attention to crucial leadership work related to ridging processes and structures, including: bridging roles and boundary spanning activities (Maguire, Hardy, & Lawrence, 2004), the creation of boundary experiences and boundary groups and organizations (Feldman, Academia, Ingram, & Schneider, 2006), boundary object creation and use (Carlisle, 2002, 2004; Kellogg, Rollicks, & Yates, 2006), and the development of nascent or proto-institutions (Lawrence, Hardy, & Phillips, 2002). In the revised framework leadership work clearly is central.
Throughout this article we offer illustrations from the creation and institutionalizing of Metros, an award-winning geographic information system (GIS) initiative in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis- Saint Paul) metropolitan area of Minnesota, USA. Metros is a completely voluntary collaborative network of over 300 governmental units, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that has created a mostly virtual geographic information systems organization under the auspices of the Metropolitan Council (MAC), the regional government (www. Meteorites. Org). Note that the case is used for illustrative purposes only; it is not a test of the framework.
Indeed, the flow was the other way ? our study of Metros (Bryon et al. 2009) helped crystallize the revision of the earlier framework. In the article’s next section we briefly describe geographic information systems and their importance, and also present a thumbnail history of the MAC and Metros. In the following section we present the revised framework. In doing so, we briefly recap the propositions drawn from the literature and presented previously. Most space, however, is devoted to presenting the propositions related to the highlighted bridging processes and structures.
In the concluding section we emphasize theoretical, methodological, ND practical implications of the revised framework. 1. Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), the Metropolitan Council, and Metros Technological innovations in recent decades have produced powerful web- based spatial mapping tools that can help a variety of groups solve problems and achieve ambitious goals. Users of the tools might be, for example, nonprofits or governments seeking to combat public health problems or a business entrepreneur wanting to corner new markets.
Yet putting together a mapping system that draws on expertise and databases of multiple organizations (at multiple levels of government and across sectors) remains a challenging endeavor for leaders like those who were central to the creation and continuation of Meteorites under the sponsorship of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council. 1. 1 . Geographic information systems Maps, of course, have been used throughout human history to visually represent geographic space, the elements making it up, and the relationships among the elements.
The creation of an analogical space representing a larger geography is one of the great accomplishments of human history, on par with the development of language ND innumeracy (Robinson, 1982). Maps are crucial to knowing where anything is and to navigating between points; to assertions of sovereignty and the rights and duties of those under the sovereign power; to understanding amounts, capacities, and/or flows of various things (land, water, weather, and traffic); to establishing ownership and the legitimacy of real property exchanges; and to a host of other purposes.
Maps typically are dimensional, but represent three- dimensional spaces. They also can be three-dimensional, as in globes; or four- dimensional via time-lapsed presentations. 1 Maps may also be of conceptual space, as in “strategy maps” (Kaplan & Norton, 2004; Bryon, Ackermann, Eden, & Finn, 2004). While in this paper we are focused on geographic space, note that two Metros strategy mapping sessions discussed below apparently provided very important “boundary experiences” for participants and produced “boundary objects” ? the strategy maps, which are of conceptual space ? that helped guide subsequent collaboration efforts. 13 Since the sass, it has become possible to produce digitized spatial information in order to create computerized maps (models) and to format, format, and analyze them using various analytic tools. Geographic information systems (GIS) are computerized models containing digitized, manipulate, and spatially referenced data. In principle, with a GIS you can study not just this map or that map, but every possible map.
With the right data, you can see whatever you want ? land, elevation, climate zones, forests, political boundaries, population density, per capita income, land use, energy consumption, mineral resources, and a thousand other things ? in whatever part of the world interests you (Armory, Napoleon, Burke, Grosses, & Feaster, 2004, p. ). In a GIS, the maps are made up of layers (think of the zoom feature on Google Earth). Each layer consists of features (cities, jurisdictions, tracts of land) and/or surfaces (lakes, land uses, snow cover).
Each geographic object in a layer is called a feature, but not all layers contain features (e. G. , the ocean layer may just be a single expanse which changes from place to place in terms of depth). The features have shapes and sizes, while the surfaces have values (elevation, slope, temperature, depth). Features have specific locations identified by coordinate systems and can also e displayed at different sizes (scales) (Armory et al. , 2004, up. 2-10). Google Maps (www. Maps. Google. Com) is the best-known GIS.
Each year it includes more and increasingly accurate data, including spatially referenced video feeds. Automobiles increasingly feature onboard GIS systems as standard equipment to assist with navigation; most include voice directions. 1. 2. The Metropolitan Council (MAC) The Metropolitan Council (MAC) was created in 1967 to be the regional planning and coordinating agency for the Minneapolis- SST. Paul region of Minnesota. It formally sponsors Meteorites and has assumed remarry responsibility for the system. The Minneapolis-SST.
Paul region since the sass has experienced many of the same problems as other metropolitan centers in the US and other “developed” nations. Integrative leaders in the region responded by creating over many years regional government structures – especially the MAC ? that increased the capacity of local, state, and federal governments to tackle regional public problems (Bryon & Crosby, 1992; Metropolitan Council, 2007). The council works with local communities to provide the following services (http://www. Metronomic. Org/about/about. Tm): operating the region’s largest bus system collecting and treating wastewater engaging communities and the public in planning for future growth providing forecasts of the region’s population and household growth providing affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families providing planning, acquisitions, and funding for a regional system of parks and trails providing a framework for decisions and implementation for regional systems including aviation, transportation, parks and open space, water quality, and water management.
The Mac’s governing board consists of 17 members, 16 of whom represent a geographic district and one chair who serves at large. They are all appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor. At present, the MAC has staff of 3700 and an annual operating budget of about $700 million, 90% of which is funded by state appropriations and user fees such as wastewater treatment charges and transit fares. Ten percent comes from local property taxes. The bulk of the Mac’s employees operate the region’s transit and regional wastewater treatment systems.
While the council had accomplished many things since its establishment, by the sass regional officials and planners were still struggling o have timely, accurate, reliable, and comparable spatial information about local conditions so they could: understand the contours of transportation, housing, open space, and waste treatment challenges; generate solutions that were more finely tuned to local and regional realities; and build the coalitions needed for necessary policy changes and resource allocation choices.
Said differently, in any democratic society based on the rule of law, accurate, timely, spatially referenced information is absolutely necessary for effective governance, planning, and coordination; the MAC had for years produced information, but it was often based on imprecise estimates and projections.
Meteorites grew out of the efforts of a group of public officials and managers, along with partners in other sectors, to remedy this shortcoming. They sought to create a shared GIS for the region that linked and made easily accessible business, government, and nonprofit databases of accurate, timely, standardized, and needed information; and acquired or developed the software applications to make use of the data to solve public problems.
These leaders practiced integrative leadership as they strove to improve multiple governments’ opacity for public problem-solving around a host of issues affecting the Twin Cities metropolitan region, including urban traffic congestion, economic development, affordable housing, threats to water availability and quality, provision of parks and other recreational opportunities, waste management, and crime.
Regional capacity building may be seen as more a management than a leadership challenge. Yet, government structures and tools often are simply inadequate to allow government agencies to carry out responsibilities and partner effectively with other organizations (Kettle, 2009; Osborne, 2010). Developing these structures and tools can be a major integrative leadership challenge ? and certainly was in the Metros case. 14 1. 3. Metros This article’s illustrations trace efforts of MAC administrators and appointed officials, along with several county commissioners and others, to develop a sustainable cross-governmental, cross-sector system for sharing detailed geographic information (for example, exact location of land parcels, streets, sewer and utility lines) across numerous jurisdictional boundaries.
Meteorites is now 14 years old and involves 300 governmental units, businesses, ND nonprofit organizations (www. Meteorites. Org). The organization’s small coordinating staff is housed in the MAC. Its Policy Board consists exclusively of government representatives, but its management-level Coordinating Committee and Technical Advisory Team consist of members representing a variety of units of government, businesses, and nonprofits.
The data on which these illustrations are based come from several sources: archival research, including a review of materials on the Metros website; an unpublished written history of Meteorites; individual interviews with ten leaders involved in Meteorite’s founding ND subsequent development; one group interview with five knowledgeable Meteorites leaders; and participant-observation by the second author in the build- up to, facilitation of, and follow-up to both major Metros strategic planning efforts. Meteorites is now nationally and internationally recognized as one of the best GIS organizations in the world. Its accomplishments include, among other things (http://www. Meteorites. Org/about/accomplishments/index. SHTML): Implementing, or making substantial progress on implementing, regional solutions for nine of the Metros community’s 13 priority information deeds: jurisdictional boundaries; street addresses/where people live; parcels/ parcel identifiers; highway and road networks; census boundaries; lakes, wetlands, water courses; land cover; and planned land use. Implementing Meteorites Daffier as a registered node of the Federal National Spatial Data Infrastructure, fully integrated into the State of Minnesota’s GIS, with a state- of-the-art downloading capability (Differentiated©). Over 200 datasets are currently accessible via Daffier. Over 800 data downloads per month occur and the trend is a steady increase. Implementing (in conjunction with the State of Minnesota’s Land Management Information Center [I-MI C]) Service Finder, a resource for finding spatial applications and web services. Executing agreements that provide access by all government interests serving the seven-county metropolitan area, without fee and subject to identical access requirements, to parcel and other spatial data produced by all seven metro area counties and the MAC. Receiving several state, national and international awards for innovation. Maintaining active involvement of key stakeholder representatives at the policy, management, and technical levels since Meteorology’s inception in 1995.
The road to these achievements has been a long and not necessarily easy one. The journey began when Rick Galilean, an MAC manager, concluded in the mid-sass that the time had come to improve the system the MAC used to develop projections about the future development of Twin Cities communities. Local planners like Randall Johnson of Shoreline (a SST. Paul suburb) were complaining that the projection system’s methods were not sufficiently based on local data and as a result the council’s projections were unreliable.
Meanwhile, new technology for more precise local data gathering as becoming available. Galilean persuaded Richard Johnson (no relation to Randall Johnson), deputy administrator of the MAC, to seek approval from the council members for creation of a small internal unit to explore the possibility of creating a multi-county GIS. The unit was to undertake the necessary planning to define what a metro GIS would include, how it would operate, and how it would be financed.
Randall Johnson was hired to head the unit and in 1995 he and his staff organized two regional forums that involved county officials, GIS experts, MAC staff, and representatives of cities, school districts, water management organizations, the regional mosquito control district, park boards, and the Metropolitan Airport Commission. The forums produced consensus that local governments were ready to cooperate with the council in setting up and maintaining a geographic information system.
Randall Johnson soon became a determined champion of developing a system that was technically advanced, met local and regional government needs, and helped the region become an example of how pooled spatial information could be used to foster wise development and improve public services. In December 1995, Johnson and his staff worked tit faculty at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (including this paper’s second author) to conduct a Strategic Planning Forum that included 18 representatives of government, nonprofit, and business organizations.
The author facilitated a strategy mapping session (Bryon et al. , 2004) that helped the group agree on a set of strategic issues for the GIS effort, elements of a mission statement, a statement of intent to pursue creation of a shared system, and a set of what came to be called “strategic projects. ” Interviewees agreed that the strategy mapping session was a signal event in the creation of Meteorites.
In April 1996, a formal mission statement, goals, guiding principles, five strategic projects (called Strategic Initiatives), and an initial organizational structure were created and agreed by key stakeholders, including the formally established Coordinating 2 Information on Metros is drawn from a variety of sources: A history of Metros written by Timothy Deleted; archival records; the Meteorites website; participant-observation; Bryon et al. (2009); and especially from several interviews of Randall Johnson, Metros staff coordinator for the MAC, and a lengthy, facilitated group interview of key actors over the course of
Meteorite’s existence: Victoria Reinhardt, Ramsey County (MN) commissioner and chairperson, Metros; Terry Schneider, City of Minnetonka (MN) councilmen and member of the Metros Policy Board; Nancy Read, technical coordinator of the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District and member and former chair of the Coordinating Committee; Jane Harper, principal planner for Washington County (MN) and member and former chair of the Coordinating Committee; and William Craig, associate director of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota and member and former chair of the Coordinating
Committee. 215 Committee and the MAC. In other words, what had been several strategic “matters of concern” involving direction, organization, and governance evolved into “matters of fact” (Layout, 2005, p. 22). The original, officially approved mission of Meteorites grew directly out of (meaning much of the language was taken directly from) the strategy mapping exercise. The original mission was: ‘ ‘To provide an ongoing, stakeholder-governed, metro-wide mechanism through which participants easily and equitably share geographically referenced data that are accurate, current, secure, of common benefit and readily usable.
The desired outcomes of Metros include: improved participant operations; reduced costs; and support for cross-jurisdictional decision-making” (www. Meteorites. Org/about/ history/mission. SHTML). Many persons interviewed for this article commented on the importance of the guiding principles for developing and sustaining the organization across many different kinds of boundaries. Many noted the principles are frequently referred to, and are clearly ? even emphatically inclusive, participatory, and democratic.
Interviewees also emphasized the importance of tapping and creating shared knowledge and understanding. The reminisces are as follows (slightly modified in recent years from the original) (http://www. Meteorites. Org/about/index. SHTML#principles): Pursue collaborative, efficient solutions of greatest importance to the region when choosing among options. Ensure that actively involved policy makers set policy direction. Pursue comprehensive and sustainable solutions that coordinate and leverage resources: i. . , build once, make available for use by many. Acknowledge that the term “stakeholder” has multiple participation characteristics: contributor of resources, consumer of the services, active knowledge sharer, potential future nutrition, potential future user, continuous participant, and infrequent participant. Acknowledge that funding is not the only way to contribute: data, equipment and people are also valuable partnership assets. Rely upon voluntary compliance for all aspects of participation. Rely upon a consensus- based process for making decisions critical to sustainability. Ensure that all relevant and affected perspectives are involved in the exploration of needs and options. Enlist champions with diverse perspectives when implementing policies and carrying out activities. The key stakeholders also established the Meteorites Coordinating Committee that would guide the system’s development.
The Coordinating Committee agreed to undertake five design projects (refinements of the Strategic Initiatives): eliciting endorsements from stakeholders executing data and cost-sharing agreements implementing an Internet-based data search and retrieval tool identifying common information needs creating a business plan and organization structure. By the end of 1996, the group had obtained substantial stakeholder buy- in. Eleven key stakeholder organizations had adopted resolutions endorsing reaction of Metros and designated a representative for the Metros Policy Board that was created to set policies for the system.
The Policy Board consists of public officials from the MAC and counties, as well as associations of local governments (municipalities, school districts, watershed districts). Victoria Reinhardt, a member of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, became chair. (SST. Paul is in Ramsey County. ) The Coordinating Committee became more formalized, and David Rarebit, director of the state’s Land Management Information Center (LIMIT), was elected as chair. Other members, including Will Craig, a GIS expert at the University of Minnesota, provided early and continuing leadership within the committee.
A Technical Advisory Team also was established. Staff secured preliminary data-sharing agreements with representatives of metro area counties and other data producers, and they began efforts to identify common information needs. During the next four years the Metros staff, the technical advisers, the Coordinating Committee, and the Policy Board worked hard to put together more permanent data and cost- sharing agreements and to establish rules and standards for data collection and dissemination.
An important product was the Daffier Internet tool, which provided a quick data search and retrieval mechanism for Metros partners. When a University of Minnesota team assessed the benefits of Metros during this period, it found that the system had given stakeholders easier access to useful data, fostered better communication among GIS users across the region, and increased trust in sharing geographic information with the user community (Craig & Bitter, 1999). The MAC hired a consulting firm to produce a business plan for sustaining the system through 2003.
The plan, which built on the findings f the university assessment, was approved by the Policy Board and the MAC; it identified priority functions, projected costs, and outlined long-term funding issues. By 2001, Metros was attracting favorable attention from national GIS advocates and policy makers. It received a federal grant to improve the Daffier website. Victoria Reinhardt was appointed to the board of the National Gestate Alliance created by the US Department of the Interior. During the next six years, the project leaders focused on improving and further institutionalizing the system.
To improve the ability of the Daffier to respond o user needs, a consultant team solicited input from users, state agencies, and the US Geological Survey. The expanded tool allowed much more customized usage. A working group of Metros stakeholders and a consultant also developed a performance measurement program. Additionally Metros came up with “endorsed regional solutions” for the 13 highest priority information needs of the region and established mechanisms for quick distribution of relevant data during emergency and homeland security events. 16 During this period, Metros had to survive a major challenge from within the MAC to its continued existence via a program evaluation audit. According to Meteorites Policy Board Chair Virginia Reinhardt, the organization had been called on to justify its existence as a public entity by MAC decision makers; when the program audit found that Metros produced benefits far in excess of its costs, the challenge disappeared (Virginia Reinhardt interview 2008). In June 2006, the MAC endorsed Metros and guaranteed its continued existence.
By 2006, the system had won national and international recognition for its accomplishments. Its leaders recognized that now that the system was on a solid footing, they would plan for the next five years. They convened stakeholders once again to consider new technological opportunities and growth dynamics for the region. In 2007, system managers and policy makers participated in a Strategic Directions Workshop, again facilitated by this paper’s second author, in order to continue providing public value and be a leader in using geographic information systems to meet public needs.