Non-profit leadership at local level: Reflections from Central and Eastern Europe

Oto Potulka , Judit Kalman , Ida Musiałkowska , Piotr Idczak


Successful leadership in local development requires not only a vision, but good communication skills, stakeholder involvement, strategic planning and coordination and popular support via public participation. Our empirical study contributes to filling the gap in the literature about the role of non-profit leadership in urban and regional development. We study the characteristics of politicians in civil society and that of civil society’s leaders in politics as a prerequisite for successful local development. For this, we draw on the survey data of 374 local politicians from four large cities in Central Europe: Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Poznan´. The research affirms that nonprofit non-governmental organisations do play an important role in local development and reveals similarities in all analysed cities, though with some variance. Local political elites are identified as engaging significantly in civil society organisations, despite low levels of general trust in these countries. About two-thirds of the local politicians who took part in the survey participate actively in civil society organisations in their respective cities but not coming from a previous non-profit non-governmental organisation employment. Not only are they active, but many of them also have positions as managers or directors, or as members of the board of directors in these organisations. Although neither membership nor leadership in non-profit non-governmental organisations appears to increase a local politician’s chance of being elected, except when those are engaged in local development or environmental issues. As spatial leadership plays an important role in the construction of new agendas and identities we have also investigated the views of local politicians on decentralisation, government service provision efficiency and the importance of several local policy topics, and found some puzzling differences across our V4 cities that possibly reflect cultural differences. Non-profit leadership in urban development is a neglected topic so far in the literature, our study adds empirical results from Central and Eastern Europe, yet there is ample room for future research.
Author Oto Potulka - University of Basel, Switzerland
Oto Potulka,,
, Judit Kalman - Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Judit Kalman,,
, Ida Musiałkowska (WGM / KE)
Ida Musiałkowska,,
- Department of European Studies
, Piotr Idczak (WGM / KE)
Piotr Idczak,,
- Department of European Studies
Journal seriesLocal Economy, ISSN 0269-0942, e-ISSN 1470-9325, (0 pkt, indicated Indexes)
Issue year2017
No32 (4)
Publication size in sheets0.9
Keywords in Polishprzywództwo, organizacje pozarządowe, rozwój lokalny, Europa Środkowa i Wschodnia, Polska, Czechy, Węgry, Słowacja
Keywords in EnglishCentral and Eastern Europe, civil society, local leadership, local politics, non-profit organisations, urban and regional development
ASJC Classification2000 General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)15
Score sourcejournalIndex
ScoreMinisterial score = 15.0, 26-03-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 0.659
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