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‘Keeping politicians at arm’s length’: how managers in a collaborative organization deal with the administration–politics interface

Journal article
Authors Sara Brorström
Maria Norbäck
Published in International Review of Administrative Sciences
ISSN 0020-8523
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Business Administration
Language en
Keywords collaborative organizations, politics–administration dichotomy, public managers, purple zone
Subject categories Business Administration, Public Administration Studies


This study examines the relationship between politicians and managers in a Swedish city. The context is a collaborative organization responsible for drafting and implement- ing the vision and strategies for a city organization, and for future development of the downtown river area. The article examines the efforts of city managers to manage the relationship with city politicians. We illustrate how the managers strive to manage an appropriate ‘arm’s-length’ relationship with the politicians by navigating in and out of the ‘purple zone’ of the politics–management interface, and how the context of collaborative organizations seems to increase the amount of time public managers spend in this zone.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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