Sustainability Managers: The Job Roles and Competencies of Building Sustainable Cities and Communities

Adriane MacDonald, Amelia Clarke, Eduardo Ordonez-Ponce, Ziqi Chai, Jordan Andreasen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Sustainable development has been a local public policy concern for nearly three decades. Accordingly, the demand for hiring sustainability professionals is increasing within local governments. However, the job of a municipal sustainability manager is notably understudied as extant literature provides little clarity on who fills these positions, what their job entails, and how they perform their job. This article seeks to address these important research questions by examining the qualifications (who), job responsibilities and work activities (what), as well as the sustainability management competencies that experienced professionals identify as most valuable for performing their sustainability manager job (how). Twenty-six sustainability professionals employed by twenty-five different municipalities across Canada were interviewed. Our results contribute to the public administration literature by providing foundational information on an understudied job that is increasingly important to public performance. Moreover, our findings contribute to the public performance and sustainability management literatures by surfacing eleven competencies linked to sustainability management. Ultimately, this article presents a detailed assessment of the specific job of a municipal sustainability manager from the perspective of incumbents who have demonstrated job performance; thus contributing salient information for continued progress toward achieving more sustainable cities and communities (Sustainable Development Goal #11).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1413-1444
    Number of pages32
    JournalPublic Performance and Management Review
    Volume43
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Keywords

    • Local government
    • sustainability competencies
    • sustainability management
    • sustainability professionals
    • sustainable development goals

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