Chapter 6: Succession Planning in Municipal Governments: Adapting to Change through Knowledge Transfer
From the Book: The Refractive Thinker®: Vol. VII: Social Responsibility


Municipal governments in Texas have a large percentage of Baby Boomer employees eligible to retire within 10 years, but no succession plan implemented to prepare younger employees for leadership positions or to capture the knowledge and experience of current employees. As a result, municipal services could be limited throughout the state. Drawing from systems theory, the purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to determine what value municipal leaders in Texas have on succession planning. Using semi-structured interviews, municipal leaders were asked to provide their perceptions about succession planning decisions. The transcribed interviews were validated through member checking, and coding software was used to identify emergent themes: (a) limited knowledge about the effects of mass retirement on the organization, (b) limited communication with the city council about potential effects on municipal services, (c) lack of formalized, budgeted succession plans, and (d) the complex issue of the effects of Civil Service on the ability to plan for succession. In summary, municipal leaders lacked the knowledge needed to begin to prepare for the effects of Baby Boomer retirements. The implications for positive social change and social responsibility are that municipal leaders can avoid possible negative effects of mass retirement if preparations are made in advance so that municipalities can continue to offer the same quality services that citizens have come to expect.