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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The Influence of Designated Funding Upon Strategic Implementation in US Municipalities

David Mitchell, David Kanaan, and Sarah Stoeckel
PAQ, Vol. 45 No. 1, 29-50 (2021)

Prior to implementation of strategic initiatives, US municipalities must decide to either designate implementation funding or ask the implementing agency to do so within its existing resources. Although limited empirical evidence indicates that designating implementation funds universally improves implementation outcomes, strategic management scholars and practitioners have increasingly endorsed contingent approaches adapted to varying environmental, organizational, and project characteristics. This conflict within theory and practice requires further examination to discern whether designated implementation funding can be considered a universal best practice or effective only in particular contexts. By surveying municipal leaders from 43 U.S. municipalities about the adequacy of implementation funding regarding 207 of their strategic initiatives, this study finds that designating implementation funds is crucial to the success of all strategic initiatives and therefore should not be applied in a contingent manner; posing a formidable challenge to contingent theories of strategic implementation and existing practices of municipal strategic management.

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