Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Issues in innovation
 An innovation model
 Indexing innovation
 Determinants of innovation
 Adopters versus nonadopters
 A diffusion explanation
 Adoptive potential
 Conclusion: Whither innovation...
 Appendix A: Description of the...
 Appendix B: Questionnaire to managers...
 Appendix C: Questionnaire to zoning...
 Appendix D: Adoptive potential...
 Biographical sketch

Title: Policy innovation in local government
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00099519/00001
 Material Information
Title: Policy innovation in local government
Physical Description: vii, 236 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bowman, Ann O'M., 1948-
Publication Date: 1979
Copyright Date: 1979
Subject: Municipal government -- Case studies   ( lcsh )
Municipal government -- Case studies -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Political Science thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: Case studies   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 228-235.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
Statement of Responsibility: by Ann O'Meara Bowman.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099519
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000096153
oclc - 06393222
notis - AAL1585


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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Issues in innovation
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
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        Page 30
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        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    An innovation model
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Indexing innovation
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
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        Page 65
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        Page 68
        Page 69
    Determinants of innovation
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
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        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    Adopters versus nonadopters
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
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        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
    A diffusion explanation
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
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    Adoptive potential
        Page 173
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    Conclusion: Whither innovation?
        Page 197
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    Appendix A: Description of the innovative policies
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    Appendix B: Questionnaire to managers and CAOs
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
    Appendix C: Questionnaire to zoning officials
        Page 225
        Page 226
    Appendix D: Adoptive potential questionnaire
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
Full Text








I would be remiss in failing to acknowledge the

contribution of Dr. Bert E. Swanson to this effort.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . .. ii

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . ... .- ... v



Introduction and Caveats . . . . 1
Contributions of the Disciplines . . 4
Conceptual Issues. .......... 8
Addressing the Conceptual Issues ... . 12
Political Science and Relevant Literature. 21
Notes. . . . . . . . . .. 34

II AN INNOVATION MODEL. . . . . . .. 36

Notes. . . . . . . . . ... 43


Data Gathering . . . . . ... 46
Innovation Typology. . . . . .. 52
Measuring Innovation . . . . .. 55
Innovation Across Policy Clusters. ... . 62
Conclusion . . . . . . . 67
Notes. . . . . . . . . ... 68


The Dependent Variables. . . . .. 71
Independent Variables and Propositions . 71
Findings . . . . . . . .. 91
Partial Correlational Analysis . . .. .105
Explaining Variance in Innovation Scores 108
Conclusion . . . . . . .. 113
Notes. . . . . . . . . ... 115


Findings . . . . . . . .. 119
Conclusion . . . . . . . . 141
Notes. . . . . . . ... . . 142


Diffusion Patterns . . . .
Conclusion . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . .


Attributes . . . . . .
Communication . . . .
Findings . . . . . .
Conclusion . . . . . .
Notes . . . . . .


Summary of Findings . . .
Is Innovation a Useful Concept?.
The Revised Model . . .
Other Research Agendas . . .
Speculation . . . . .
Notes . . . . . .






REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . .



. . . 143

. . . 157
. . . 172
. . . 172

. . . 173

. . . 173
. . . 182
. . . 184
. . 192
. . . 195

. . . 197

. . . 197
. . . 201
. . . 202
. . . 207
. . . 210
. . 213

. 214

. 222

S. 225

S 227

S. 228

S. 236

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
Council of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Ann O'Meara Bowman

August 1979

Chairman: Bert E. Swanson
Major Department: Political Science

This research explores the adoption of policy innova-

tions by municipalities. It is unique in that, unlike the

bulk of the recent work in innovation, it is a study of new

policies rather than new technologies. The research is fu-

eled by a central question: in terms of adopting new policies,

why are some cities more innovative than other cities?

An innovation is defined as a new policy that has ex-

perienced limited diffusion throughout the population of

interest. It represents nonincremental change.

The dissertation pursues a theoretical issue that is

wracking the study of innovation--the designation of the ap-

propriate orientation to the subject. One explanation looks

to characteristics in the community environment, such as

accelerated population growth rates, as spurs to innovation.

An alternative orientation focuses upon information ex-

changes among cities, suggesting that as information about

the innovation diffuses, adoption is more likely. A third

explanation centers upon the attributes of the innovative

item itself as the determining factors in its adoption.

In this study, these somewhat disparate approaches are

blended into a more comprehensive model of innovation. The

results demonstrate the utility in this revisionist orienta-

tion to innovation.

Florida cities with populations of 25,000 or greater

serve as the units of analysis. Composite innovation scores

are calculated for each of the 38 cities. The scores are

derived from three prevalent conceptions of innovation: a

dichotomous adoption-nonadoption score, a measure weighted

according to the frequency of adoptions, and a time elapsed

computation. These scores are standardized into composite

innovation indicators for the cities.

The measures are based on 46 new policies that appeared

on the Florida municipal scene in the 1970s. The policies,

which belong to a single typological category labeled "ameni-

ties," deal with the quality of life in the cities. A panel

of experts, knowledgeable about Florida cities, aided in the

compilation of the list of innovations.

The results of the research attest to the complexity

in innovation. The complexity is manifested in variability

in the findings.

The three common but competing conceptions of innova-

tion produce highly correlated scores for the cities. Desig-

nation of substantive policy clusters within the amenity

category reveals fluctuating innovation scores for the

clusters. Innovativeness is not constant across policy


Specific variables from the community environment and

the political system, e.g., city size and expenditures for

common municipal functions, can be linked with innovation.

For the most part, however, identification of determinants of

policy innovation is highly variable. For example, the in-

dicator of liberalism is negatively correlated with environ-

mental innovation, but it is positively associated with civil

rights policies. This pattern of variability continues when

the innovations are disaggregated into individual policies.

The S-shaped curve as an explanation of innovation dif-

fusion over time appears to have limited utility for policy

innovation. Diffusion patterns demonstrate that information

exchange is based more upon contagion than hierarchy, that is,

cities look to neighboring communities for cues rather than

to a lead city. There is great variation among cities in

reliance upon external search behavior as a problem solving


Key attributes that can be associated with innovation

decisions revolve around the policy's compatibility, rele-

vance, and political risk. Clearly the politics of the

adoption process are vital to understanding municipal policy


A speculative note emerging from this research is the

likelihood of a link between innovation and political viabil-

ity. It is intimated that to remain viable political enti-

ties, cities will exhibit an increased reliance on innovation.


Introduction and Caveats

Cities can no longer afford to bask comfortably in a

reactive pose. The challenges of postmodern society, e.g.,

counterurbanization, demands for social equity, environ-

mental activism, increased leisure time, are forcing cities

to strike an anticipatory stance. Located at a point along

the continuum stretching from reaction to anticipation is

innovation. A city that has not yet developed the capacity

to anticipate may at least transcend mere coping behavior

by expanding its propensity to innovate--to adopt new solu-

tions to problems. Innovation is the vehicle through which

the city places the weight of its authority behind ex-

perimentation rather than entrenchment. (Entrenchment may

take the form of ingrained decision selections or avoidance

of the issue.) The innovative city tends toward anticipa-

tion more so than does a noninnovative city.

Therefore, a study of municipal policy innovation will

provide an indication of whether cities are nearing assump-

tion of an anticipatory stance. Too, it may offer implica-

tions as to the viability of cities as units of government

in the American political system. The implicit threat is

that their failure to innovate will trigger usurpation of


their functions by other entities, perhaps councils of

government, or states. Another potential result might be

a resurgence of innovation propagated by the federal


The tacit assumption in granting home rule to Florida

cities was that cities had the desire and the capacity to

solve their own problems--that they were repositories of

innovation. The grant of home rule implied a confidence in

city decision making. A determination as to whether this

confidence was misplaced will be a by-product of this


First and foremost, this is a study of innovation.

More specifically, the research explores the adoption of

policy innovations by municipalities. Of interest are poli-

cy innovations that can be labeled "amenities," that is,

policies dealing with the quality of life in the cities

(Williams and Adrian, 1963). Delineation of the determi-

nants of these innovative activities is the goal of the

study. The research is fueled by this central question:

In terms of adopting amenity policies, why are some cities

more innovative than other cities?1

Undertaking a study of innovation is best done

cautiously. Examination of the conceptual issues involved

in innovation research has revealed a lack of integrative

theory. The results of empirical studies have been described

as "impressively large in volume and small in meaning"

(Downs and Mohr, 1975:2). Their argument continues in a

similarly critical vein:

Perhaps the most alarming characteristic
of the body of empirical results on innova-
tion is what we will refer to repeatedly
as 'instability'. By this we mean that
factors found to be important for innovation
in one study are found to be considerably
less important, or not important at all, or
even important in the reverse direction, in
another study. Not only does this phenome-
non occur, but it occurs with relentless
regularity. (Downs and Mohr, 1975:3)

Becker and Whisler (1967) discover the merest shred of

commonality among writers on innovation--agreement on the

nature of the innovation process. "Something internal or

external provides a stimulus, an individual conceives a

proposal for innovative action, he makes his proposal to

fellow members of the organization, and a political process

ensues which results in either adoption or rejection of the

proposal" (1967:467). Their subsequent comments hit upon

the theoretical abyss in innovation research and the re-

sultant confusion in the usage of the term "innovation."

Despite the plethora of research on the topic, the

suggestion is that "the study of innovation may be too

hopelessly complex to be productive" (Downs and Mohr,

1975:2). Thus an initial task of this study, after explor-

ing the varied foci of economists, sociologists, and geog-

raphers, is to thread through the morass of innovation

literature and identify the pertinent conceptual issues

from which to pursue the research question of interest.

Organization by discipline has utility in that, to a large

extent, discipline predetermines orientation to the sub-

ject. Review of the work of political scientists, plus

explication of particularly germane pieces of research, is

taken up subsequent to the isolation of relevant conceptual

issues. It is the foundation provided by these precursors

that is chipped away and reshaped into the theoretical

model presented in Chapter II.

Contributions of the Disciplines

Warner (1974) and Downs (1976) have evaluated the

varied contributions of economists and sociologists to the

body of innovation knowledge. Warner (1974:435) notes:

. .economists have a good general under-
standing of the roles of profitability,
size of required investment, uncertainty
and risk aversion, the spread of informa-
tion and new knowledge (and thus learning),
and other economic factors in the processes
of diffusion of a certain class of success-
ful innovations: namely, basically unchang-
ing innovations (or, more accurately, inno-
vations treated as such analytically) which
replace similar but less efficient inputs in
a production process or outputs in an
industry's product mix, assuming a con-
ventional market profit orientation.

From his search of the literature, Warner concludes

that empirical research by economists tends toward support

of these hypotheses:

(1) The diffusion pattern follows an S-shaped curve

of experimentation, feedback, and imitation.

(2) The rate of imitation increases the greater the

profitability of the innovation and the smaller the required


(3) As usage of an innovative item or technique grows

within the firm, increased efficiency results.

(4) Impacting upon the economic factors influencing

diffusion are various untested noneconomic factors.

Downs (1976) finds that approach of the economists--the

focus on economic variables such as profitability and size

of investment--of little utility in constructing a theory

of the determinants of public sector innovation. He sug-

gests that Warner's chances of finding an analog to

profitability in the public sector are remote and poten-

tially injurious to theory development. Attempts to define

"true worth" and ultimately to measure it in the public

sector are complicated.2

Sociologists have tended to emphasize organizational

design, especially structural variables, in their approach

to the study of innovation. Downs (1976) observes that this

emphasis has had these effects:

(1) A preoccupation with the factors that facilitate

adoption of innovation rather than the characteristics that

motivate adoption, such as microincentives or decision rules.

(2) A tendency to avoid organizational variables that

are innovation specific.

(3) A concentration on the internal attributes of the

organization while ignoring the impact of organizational

environments in influencing the adoption of innovations.

A subset of sociologists, in investigating the social

psychological characteristics of innovators, found that

educational status, achievement motivation, venturesomeness,

sociableness, and cosmopoliteness, among others, are

associated with innovation. The bulk of this work has

focused on the individual farmer's decision to adopt agri-

cultural innovations.

Downs concludes that the sociological tradition offers

little in the way of an integrative theory of innovation

but does contribute a limited analytic superstructure and a

smattering of potentially significant variables. Warner

is in agreement with Downs.

The sociological literature is rich in pre-
cisely those areas where the economic litera-
ture is poor--for example, examination of
the personal traits and characteristics of
innovators and imitators, and detailed
investigation of the communication channels
through which information and new knowledge
diffuse to potential adopters. In addition,
sociologists have suggested and studied
significant characteristics of innovations
as perceived by potential adopters.
(Warner, 1974:439,440)

Warner attacks the disciplinary parochialism rampant in

diffusion research.

The potential complementarity of the two
approaches [economists and sociologists]
is clear, but the divergent perspectives
and variables and the virtual isolation
of the disciplines from one another has
thus far failed to produce meaningful
assimilation of the ideas of the one
into the thinking of the other.
(Warner, 1974:440)

Geographers too have contributed to the body of in-

novation literature, primarily focusing on the diffusion

aspect. The empirical work is grounded in a theoretical

base that conceives of diffusion in an information flow con-

text (Hagerstrand, 1967). Potential adopters exhibit search

behavior which is facilitated through a communication


A more recent trend discernible in the geographical

literature is attention to the role of diffusion agencies

(Brown, 1975). Diffusion agencies function as propagators

in sponsoring or encouraging innovation. The structure of

the diffusion agency can be singular or polynuclear. The

federal government's part in sponsoring innovation has been

a subject of continuing interest (Agnew et al., 1978).

The approach favored by geographers is useful for

pursuing innovative behavior that occurs in a period of

rapidly accelerating adoption. It is of little utility in

explaining pioneer adoption decisions--those that take

place without information exchange.

Reflection makes clear that each of the disciplines

discussed approaches the subject of innovation from a unique

perspective. Each has latched onto a segment of the innova-

tion phenomenon. It is no wonder that the results, while

they might intersect at specific points, rarely coalesce.

Conceptual Issues

One common theme emerging from the disciplinary ex-

cursion is the existence of unresolved issues in innovation

research. The work of Warner (1974) and Downs and Mohr

(1975) highlights the obfuscatory conceptual issues. Warner

(1974) identifies the following issues as noteworthy:

(1) A definitional deficiency exists contributing to

the absence of a common operationalization of innovation.

This condition impairs comparability of innovation research.

(2) Excessive myopia occurs in the various disciplines

in their use of innovations that are compatible with their

preordained perspectives and methodologies. Thus there is

avoidance of conceptual challenges that do not fit their


(3) There are problems in determining the adoption

unit appropriate for study.

(4) No mechanism exists for determining whether adjust-

ments and alterations in the original innovation are simply

modifications or actually new innovations themselves.

(5) There has been no clear understanding of the im-

pact the origins of the innovation have on its diffusion


Warner's solution for dealing with these conceptual

deficiencies is to suggest theory building upon an empirical

base, or, as he expresses it, "empirical research will flesh

out the theoretical skeleton" (1974:449). Despite Warner's

critical assessment of the state of the art in diffusion

research, he remains optimistic about its potential, once

attempts are made at resolution of the problems.

Downs and Mohr (1975:3) suggest that the "instability

[in innovation research] results from a lack of clarity on

several conceptual issues." The flawed issues include:

variation in primary attributes, differing operationaliza-

tions of "innovation," and ecological inferences. This

list, although it echoes Warner to a slight degree, possesses

a broader orientation to the subject and justifies extended


Regarding the first problem, the essential complaint

is the blurring of the distinction between primary and

secondary attributes of an innovation. For example, if cost

is a primary attribute, then all potential adopters would

assign the innovation to the same cost category, be it high,

medium, or low. Thus only negligible variation in cate-

gorizing the innovation according to cost occurs. A

secondary attribute, on the other hand, experiences dispute

over its categorization, that is, adopting entities are

likely to place it in different categories--to one city the

innovation is routine, to another it's radical.

Cost and communicability are suggested as possible

primary attributes, while an innovation's compatibility and

profitability are secondary attributes. The existence of

differences among innovations in their primary attributes

helps to explain some of the instability of innovation re-

search. "For example, some findings of research into the

determinants of a low-cost innovation are generalizable

only to other low-cost innovations" (Downs and Mohr, 1975:

10). To alleviate this difficulty, they suggest construc-

tion of a matrix formed by the dimensions of the primary

attributes and exploration of cellular occurrences and


Another contributor to the instability in findings is

the variation in measuring innovation. Different theoreti-

cal perspectives tend to perpetuate the lack of a generally

acceptable measurement. Downs and Mohr point out three

popular operationalizations of innovation:

(1) the adoption/nonadoption measure (has the innova-

tion been adopted or not?)

(2) a time based score (how long has the innovation

been in use?)

(3) a commitment score (to what degree has the in-

novation been implemented?)

It is their belief that the operationalizations "are tapping

different aspects of innovation" (1975:19).

A third conceptual difficulty considered by Downs and

Mohr revolves around the single innovation versus the mul-

tiple innovation design. They argue that the anticipated

improvement in reliability and generalizability afforded by

the multiple innovation design is diminished by problems of

aggregation bias. Consideration of secondary attributes

(variables whose values differ according to the particular

innovation) is generally ignored as researchers focus on the

more resolvable primary attributes.

As a means of extrication from these conceptual dif-

ficulties, Downs and Mohr posit the "innovation-decision

design." In this scheme, the unit of analysis is no longer

the adopting entity or the innovation itself but rather the

adopting entity in relation to the innovation. Downs and

Mohr (1975:31) explain:

If we were studying the adoption of ten in-
novations by 100 organizations, we would be
working with a sample of 1000. This design
eliminates any confusion which might stem
from volatile secondary attributes. It would
no longer seem inappropriate to assign or-
ganization A one set of scores with respect
to its perceived profit, level of centraliza-
tion or formalization, etc. in connection
with innovation alpha and another set of
scores for these same dimensions in connec-
tion (with) innovation beta. The organiza-
tion's scores on primary attributes like
size and wealth would, of course, simply
remain constant across the set of innovations.

They continue:

A beneficial spillover of employing the
innovation-decision design is that it serves
to remind us of the dangers of thinking in
terms of something called the organization--
a reification with constant properties, whose
probability of adoption will therefore never
change, regardless of the kind of innovation
it considers. Rather, it focuses our atten-
tion on the shifting incentives and constraints
that are relevant to the decision to innovate.

Downs and Mohr are critical of innovation designs that

feature a predetermined list of innovations that has sprung

full blown from the researcher.3 The adopting entity may

have adopted other innovations not on the list, but its

score will not reflect it. Similarly, the adopting entity

may have rejected adoption of certain of the listed innova-

tions because it had no need for them; however, the entity

is still tagged noninnovative.5 Downs and Mohr consider

these drawbacks inherent in the multiple innovation design.

Addressing the Conceptual Issues

The initial conceptual issue to be addressed is the

usage of the term "innovation." Zaltman et al. (1973:7-8)

note three contexts in the literature:

(1) innovation as invention, that is, "a creative

process whereby two or more existing concepts or entities

are combined in some novel way to produce a configuration

not previously known by the person involved."

(2) innovation as adoption and internalization, that

is, "the process whereby an existing innovation becomes a

part of an adopter's cognitive state and behavioral


(3) innovation as a novel item--a nonprocessual look

at the term, "the idea, practice, or material artifact that

has been invented or that is regarded as novel independent

of its adoption or nonadoption."

Rogers and Shoemaker (1971:19) define an innovation


An innovation is an idea, practice, or object
perceived as new by the individual. It matters
little, as far as human behavior is concerned,
whether or not an idea is 'objectively' new
as measured by the lapse of time since its first

use or discovery. .. If the idea seems new
to the individual, it is an innovation . .
The 'newness' aspect of an innovation may be ex-
pressed in knowledge, in attitude, or regarding
a decision to use it. (emphasis added)

Similarly, to Knight (1967:478), "an innovation is the

adoption of a change which is new to the organization and

to the relevant environment." In the same general sense,

Barnett (1953:7) defines an innovation as "any thought,

behavior, or thing that is new because it is qualitatively

different from existing forms."

In the same vein, political scientists such as Walker

(1969) and Gray (1973a,b) consider an innovation to be any

idea or practice perceived to be new by the relevant unit

of adoption. Mohr (1969:112), on the other hand, defines

innovation as "the successful introduction into an applied

situation of means or ends that are new to that situation."

In examining state growth management innovations, Clarke

(1977:4) labels policy innovations as "a new way of think-

ing, a new definition of 'problems' and 'solutions.'" "Inno-

vation appears as a leap into a new state of affairs, an

event that leads to the structural transformation of an

existing situation . it appears as a form of action

intended to change the nature of reality" (Warren et al.,


One variation on this general definition is the label-

ing as innovations those ideas, products, or services that

have not yet secured more than 10 percent acceptance within

the relevant social system (Bell, 1963). Others suggest

that the critical factor in determining whether an item is

an innovation is its impact upon established behavioral

patterns--minimal, moderate, or total (Robertson, 1971).

In distinguishing among invention, innovation, and

change, Becker and Whisler (1969) note the constant inter-

changing of the terms in the literature. In looking at

organizations, change is frequently equated with innova-

tion. "Thus, every change becomes an innovation simply

because it has not been done by that particular organiza-

tion" (463). They argue instead that differential costs of

search and degrees of risk are experienced by early adopters

and later adopters. Consequently, Becker and Whisler at-

tempt to add precision to the term by defining innovation

as "the first or early use of an idea by one of a set of

organizations with similar goals" (463). Not only does time

become a factor, the organizational environment is the

relevant entity from which to gauge the "innovativeness" of

an idea.

Recent research on technological innovations in local

government uses a similar definition incorporating a time

constraint into the design--"an idea must have been adopted

'first or early' to be considered innovative" (Bingham,


The Feller and Menzel (1976:48) description of the

S-shaped curve for technological innovation is useful in

delineating the time element inherent in "innovation."

"The presence of such S-shaped diffusion curves suggests

that the adoption process in municipal governments involves

a prethreshold period involving trial use, mixed reviews

and occasional discontinuances, followed by a period of

accelerated adoption culminating in a pattern of overall


Time is a key element in innovation. Empirical sup-

port for this contention is evident in the conflicting

results of two studies of the relationships between measures

of the community power structure and urban renewal expendi-

tures (Bingham, 1976a). Hawley's research reported a cor-

relation between highly concentrated power structures and

urban renewal expenditures. Clark's data revealed a

relationship between a decentralized decision-making

structure and money spent for urban renewal. Clark

reconciled this disparity with the notion of "fragility"

or "newness." Innovations are fragile and their adoption

patterns change as the issue matures. Thus Hawley studied

urban renewal at its innovative phase (1950s), Clark at

its less fragile stage (1960s). Bingham (1976a) suggests

that the Aiken and Alford studies of urban renewal and

public housing fail to meet the fragility criterion of

innovation studies and, therefore, cannot be considered

valid studies of innovations.

A difficulty with the term "innovation" is its positive

connotation. "Unlike the ideas of 'progress' and 'growth,'

which have long since been casualties of the 'new conscious-

ness,' innovation, especially when seen as encompassing

more than purely technological change, is still associated

in most minds with improvement" (Downs and Mohr, 1975:2).

This sentiment is echoed by Warren et al. (1974:83) who,

after reviewing the myriad definitions of "innovation,"

remark, "None of these definitions takes into account the

direction of the development that is to be considered an

innovation. Yet implicit in the way they are used is the

assumption that innovation is desirable." Thus should one's

definition of innovation incorporate a notion of the "good-

ness" of the change--or should the definition maintain value

neutrality? Value neutrality implies that any change, if

it meets the requisite criteria built into the definition,

is an innovation, regardless of its desirability. Warren

et al. (1974:84) claim that "it seems impossible to ignore

the directionality of change in any adequate consideration

of innovation. Qualitative differences must inevitably be


The argument on which the dissertation research is

based is that innovative policies are different from those

that came before--they represent a nonincremental change--

because an innovative policy is an exception to daily

decision making. "While no clear, unambiguous criteria exist

for distinguishing policy innovations from any minor

modification in current practices, the label is normally

applied only to policies that represent significant, un-

precedented, and qualitative departures from past policies"

(Downs, 1976:xv).

The definitional debate remains unresolved. For the

purposes of this study definitional issues are handled:

(1) by limiting potential policies to be categorized as

innovations to those of the 1970s, and beyond that, (2) by

selecting policies that have not diffused throughout the

population of interest. Thus they still retain their

fragility--the experience of the adopters has not been of

sufficient duration to cause relabeling as status quo poli-

cies. In setting up the methodological design, it was as-

sumed based on expert information that the policies were

1970s vintage.6 For the great majority of innovative

policies the assumption was borne out. Occasionally, how-

ever, there are instances of pioneer adoption occurring

prior to 1970. It could be argued that the experts only

gained familiarity with the policies as they diffused.

With regard to limited diffusion, most of the innovative

policies have less than 50 percent adoption rates.

Another facet of the definitional issue is the opera-

tionalization of "innovation." This topic receives exten-

sive attention in Chapter III.

A conceptual issue of importance is the single

innovation versus multiple innovation research design.

(The "single" and "multiple" tags are common in innovation

research. They can be equated with "case study" and

"aggregate research," respectively.) Rogers and Shoemaker

(1971) are critical of research which examines a single

innovation for its limited generalizability. Consequently,

they urge study of "bundles" of related innovations. The

apparent theoretical motive underlying the bundle approach

is an increase in the reliability of the results by con-

sidering several innovations of the same type.

Due to the complications of aggregation bias, Downs

and Mohr (1975), as we have seen, warn against the multiple

innovation designs as typified by the Walker study. They

argue that an understanding of the innovation phenomenon is

facilitated by examination of variables generally excluded

in aggregate research, e.g., attributes of the innovative

policy itself, such as how compatible it is with the overall

policy climate of the city, the complexity of the innova-

tive policy as perceived by the potential adopters, and

so on.

A method of dealing with this issue is to study inno-

vations that belong to the same typological category for all

entities. This is the conclusion emerging from Gray's study

in which different policy types had different adoption ex-

periences. Arguing that there are at minimum three dis-

tinct diffusion models, Eyestone (1977) too attacks the

propensity to lump disparate types of innovations into a

single measure of innovativeness. He suggests that policy

clusters be generated empirically by comparing the diffusion

patterns of various policies. This would discriminate among

policies according to their political similarity. The

constraint of homogeneity lessens the potential for bias

that occurs in studying heterogeneous innovations. Thus for

the purposes of the dissertation, the multiple but homo-

geneous innovation design will be utilized.7

The innovative policies selected for study are termed

"amenities," that is, they deal with the quality of life in

the community. Williams and Adrian (1963) popularized usage

of "amenities" as one of four images of the role of govern-

ment. Amenity policies are designed around "the demands of

the residential environment . safety, slowness of

traffic, quiet, beauty, convenience, and restfulness"

(Williams and Adrian, 1963:25,26). This distinction will

be employed when innovative policies are evaluated as to

the applicability of the label "amenity." Treating

amenities as a subset of innovative policies was suggested

in Bingham's (1976a,b,c) work on municipalies. His designa-

tion of "amenity" is done on an ex post facto basis, in opposi-

tion to "need."

Bingham (1976a)raises a classificatory issue when he

argues for separation of policy innovations from those in-
volving technological change. He differentiates between

the two types according to their adopting unit. Innova-

tion in local government occurs in the political and

bureaucratic realms. As Bingham (1976a:137) notes:

Political innovation is public policy. In
local government this policy may originate
from the executive section (mayor or
manager), the legislative (the city council)
or through a combination of both .
Bureaucratic innovation, on the other hand,
is in response to political innovation or
new policy. . Bureaucratic innovation

may encompass a change in process, a
change in organizational structure
and/or a new product or service.

Studies of cities' receptivity to bureaucratically

adopted change can be identified in the literature, e.g.,

Feller and Menzel (1976), Bingham (1976a,b,c). This research

into political innovation, however, has been concentrated

at the state level in the work of Walker (1969), Gray (1973a,b)

Clarke (1977), and others. In this study, political innova-

tion at the municipal level is the focus. The dearth of

precursory scrutiny into local government innovation was one

of the sparks to this research.

The remaining conceptual issue relevant to the research

is confrontation of the prerequisites/diffusion dichotomy

(Collier and Messick, 1975). It is a question of whether

the propensity to adopt innovative policies is the result

of common characteristics (prerequisites) or of communica-

tion and emulation (diffusion). It is an extension of the

Walker Gray dialog and as yet has evaded definitive

resolution. For example, Eyestone (1977:442) claims, "A

state's propensity to adopt a policy probably depends on

three factors: some intrinsic properties of the policy, a

state's politics, and emulative (interactive) effects."

Downs (1976) questions the validity of the dichotomy and

instead calls for an integration of the characteristics of

the diffusion process directly into the prerequisites


This investigation posits the prerequisites model as

an appropriate explanatory tool. It is anticipated that

certain prerequisites (determinants) can be linked with

innovation; thus the prerequisites model will be proven

to be a valuable avenue for exploration. Whether this

contention is supportable subsequent to the data analysis

is of major interest. In addition, inferences as to the

interaction among (1) prerequisites, (2) emulation, and

(3) attributes of the innovation, as contributing to the

propensity to adopt amenity innovations, will be drawn.

Political Science and Relevant Literature

Two trends are discernible in approaches to state and

community innovation research undertaken from a political

science perspective. One is the determinants view--

innovation as a function of the socioeconomic environment,

and to a lesser extent, the political system. The con-

trasting perspective focuses on the role of intercommunity

information exchanges. Literature cited here can be sorted

into one cell or the other; rarely are both perspectives

blended in one study.

The absence of general theory has led Eyestone (1977)

to conclude that several models account for partial explana-

tions of the diffusion of policy innovations. Interactive

(communication) effects exist for a selected set of policies;

however, in some cases, innovation is the result of inde-

pendent decision. These two discrete models are complemented

by a third--state response to federal initiatives. Eyestone

suggests identifying policy clusters based on their diffu-

sion patterns, be it interactive, independent decision, or

federal incentive.

An approach suggested by geographers and little explored

by political scientists provides a more general exposition

of Eyestone's initiative model: sponsorship or propaga-

tion of innovation by diffusion agencies. The work of Agnew

et al. (1978) attempts to combine the three perspectives

with respect to four community innovations.

Downs (1976) summarizes the findings generated by the

application of innovation theory to the field of public


(1) Policy innovations diffuse in a manner similar to

other innovations.

(2) Communication and emulation are likely to have a

significant impact on the adoption decision.

Downs also considers the deviations (from anticipated

findings) produced by determinants researchers to be the

avenues with the greatest potential for exploration. (As

noted earlier, Downs is an exponent of the single innovation


The following matrix sorts the empirical work under

review into categories according to level of government,

adopting unit, and single versus multiple innovation design

(Table 1-1).

Table 1-1. Empirical Work in Innovation

Adopting Unit Single Innovation Multiple Innovation
Classification State Local State Local

Political Downs Aiken etal. McVoy Bowman
Crain et al. Walker
Agnew et al. Gray
Scott Savage

Bureaucratic Feller
et al.

As is evident from the preciding matrix, the empirical

work has been concentrated in two cells--studies of single,

political innovations at the local level and studies of

multiple, political innovations at the state level. Re-

cently, bureaucratic innovation in local governments has

been the subject of research. The dissertation seeks to

fill in an empty cell--multiple, political innovations at

the local government level.

A survey of single innovation research at the local

level begins with Crain's (1966) study. Crain's work on

fluoridation was influenced by the Coleman et al. finding

that physicians, in deciding whether to use a new drug,

relied not soley upon the technical literature but con-

sistently looked to other physicians for information and

social support (Coleman, Katz, Menzel, 1966). In Crain's

study, the role of intercity influence in the diffusion of

fluoridation adoption by municipalities was tested. A four

stage diffusion process connected to a mass communication

system in which peer group influence had an effect emerged.

(1) Before 1951, fluoridation was adopted on an ex-

perimental basis in a small number of cities scattered

across the U.S. It occurred in larger cities and in cities

with a large percentage of white collar employees. Infor-

mation was transmitted among health professionals through

formal channels.

(2) In 1952, fluoridation, endorsed by many national

groups, became a highly fashionable innovation reaching its

peak adoption rate in the Midwest. Information trans-

mittal became more informal.

(3) Between 1953 and 1955, fluoridation began a slow,

but steady spread across the country--shifting from the

pioneer states to those in the South and East. The novelty

began to wear off; as a result there was less communication.

(4) During the latter part of the decade, the number

of adoptions in new areas decreased. The few adoptions that

did occur were in areas with established favorable environ-

ments due to earlier adoptions. Communication centered on

more controversial issues, such as safety.

An additional aspect of the fluoridation project

undertaken by Katz, Crain and Rosenthal was the role of

executive leadership in community innovation. In the study,

Rosenthal and Crain (1966) argued that the position taken

by the formal executive leadership (mayor or city manager)

was crucial in explaining community decisions on fluorida-

tion. If the executive failed to support fluoridation

publicly, the innovation had little chance for adoption.

The executive's positive support was correlated with

favorable action.

Scott (1968) concentrated on structural innovations as

he dealt with the adoption and diffusion of the council-

manager plan in 135 cities in three states. He found that

communities with stable, homogeneous, high status popula-

tions had the requisite ideological and organizational

conditions for innovative policy choices. However, when

important reference communities adopted new ideas, the

environment became more receptive to change and the need

for extraordinary characteristics of the pioneers diminished.

Both of the relevant Aiken and Alford studies (1970a,

1970b)--urban renewal and public housing--tested and ulti-

mately rejected five typical explanations of innovation:

(1) cities with a "public regarding" political culture

are thought to have more innovative community policies than

cities where "private regarding" values predominate,

(2) the greater the concentration of community power,

the greater the degree of innovation,

(3) cities with centralized administrative arrange-

ments, i.e., city manager or strong mayor, are more inno-

vative than cities characterized by decentralized adminis-

trative structures,

(4) younger, smaller cities are more innovative than

their older, larger counterparts,

(5) integrated communities with highly developed

communication networks and contacts among social groups

are more innovative than cities in which community inte-

gration breaks down.

Finding none of the theories completely satisfactory,

Aiken and Alford devised their own approach, one which

emphasized three properties--structural differentiation,

accumulation of experience and information, and the

stability and extensiveness of interorganized networks--as

contributing to the generation of the kinds of social re-

sources necessary for innovation to occur in the community.

The Collier-Messick prerequisites/diffusion dichotomy

was subjected to testing in the Agnew et al. (1978) research

on community innovation. Additionally, Agnew et al. dis-

tinguished between community innovations sponsored by a

central propagator (e.g., public housing and urban renewal)

and those adopted as a result of local initiative (e.g.,

automated data processing and fluoridation). They dis-

covered that the local need factor and the intercommunity

information flow have validity in explaining innovation;

however, the propagator angle is useful in distinguishing

between adopter and nonadopter communities. It is of less

utility in understanding the time order of adoption.

The sole example of a single policy focus at the state

level is Downs' (1976) study of deinstitutionalization in

juvenile corrections. Using both aggregate analysis and a

case study, he argued that the Collier-Messick prerequisites/

diffusion dichotomy was false. His design incorporated

elements of both conditions for innovation. The independent

variables included indicators of (1) socioeconomic charac-

teristics, (2) the task environment, and (3) bureaucratic

variables and executive characteristics.

Downs found that of the typical socioeconomic vari-

ables of urbanization, industrialization, and per capital

income, the only dimension significantly related to a

state's propensity to deinstitutionalize juvenile correc-

tions is socioeconomic heterogeneity. In the task environ-

ment, (1) a high level of interest by environmental groups

such as the courts, the legislature, and interest groups,

in the field of juvenile corrections, plus (2) environmental

instability (the number of large scale reorganizations of

the state bureaucracy within the preceding five years) were

significant determinants of deinstitutionalization. Of the

final set of variables, the major contributor to an explana-

tion of the variance in state deinstitutionalization rates

was the ideology of the director, although his impact was

tied to the amount of agency autonomy.

The remainder of the empirical research has a multiple

innovation design. A survey of the state policy innovation

literature of an empirical nature begins with McVoy's (1940)

study. He sought to rank the states on indices of pro-

gressivism, that is, adoption of innovative policies such

as vocational rehabilitation, old age pensions, female

suffrage, and city manager government. Despite methodologi-

cal difficulties (some scores were based on date of adop-

tion, others on the number of adoptions within the state,

still others on their intensity), McVoy emerged with two

significant findings:

(1) that certain points within the United States

serve as centers of innovation around which innovations tend

to radiate in concentric gradients,

(2) that factors exist such as communication and trans-

portation facilities, degree of urbanization, wealth and

education which influence diffusion and tend to distort the

concentric circle pattern.

The speed with which states adopt new programs was

Walker's (1969) concern. A state's innovation score was

measured by the percentage of time elapsing between the

first legislative enactment of a program and a particular

state's acceptance of it. Walker found that larger,

wealthier, more industrialized states adopted new programs

more rapidly than did smaller, less developed states. He

noted that the availability of slack resources, e.g., money

or a highly skilled staff, afforded the decision maker the

luxury of experimentation. Walker developed a thesis link-

ing a state's desire to emulate and compete with other

states to its proclivity for policy innovation.

Gray (1973a)contended that Walker's finding that wealth

and competition were determinants of innovativeness might

obscure the factor of user interaction as an explanation for

those states falling in the middle range of innovativeness.

(Gray did agree that political and economic explanations had

utility among early adopters.) Examining education, welfare,

and civil rights policies, Gray found the S-shaped curve ap-

propriate as a description of the diffusion process. Gray

concluded that among states, diffusion patterns differ by

issue area and by degree of federal involvement. Gray is

critical of studies such as Walker's which consider innova-

tiveness a pervasive factor; Gray finds innovativeness issue

and time specific.

The issue of temporal variability in innovativeness was

pursued by Savage (1978). His data challenged Gray's con-

tention that innovation is time specific. Instead, Savage's

study of 181 policies in three time periods showed the

states to be relatively consistent in their innovation rank-

ings. He suggests that general innovativeness is an identi-

fiable trait in the American states.

Savage alluded to a regionalism factor in the general

innovativeness trait. He noted the frequency with which

southern states appear in the laggard category. Regional-

ism was the focus of Foster (1978) in his reexamination of

Walker's research. Ils model is reproduced below.

Foster concluded that regional proximity affects

innovation adoption rates. Clarke's (1977) research, set

at the state level, was an aggregate analysis in its

entirety. The study sought to explain why some states

Potential Explanations of Regional Innovation Patterns

Regional Economic
and Political Similarities A
Regional Innovation
Adoption Pattern
A1 Similarities

Officials Tendency -
to Communicate with B
and Emulate Regional

adopted innovative growth management policies in response

to changes generated by population growth and redistribu-

tion. Though somewhat weaker than Walker's findings, she

found a general propensity to innovate in larger, more

urbanized, more industrialized states. However, she dis-

covered that measures of counterurbanization (variables such

as rapid growth/declining growth, population redistribution)

had greater explanatory power. Clarke argues that it is not

a learning curve but rather a learning cycle in which growth

management is a cyclically patterned response to current

political demands, not a result of a reduction of uncertain-

ty. She suggests that researchers must move beyond the

"transfer of information" conceptualization to a descrip-

tion of the political economy of policy innovations.

Moving to multiple bureaucratic innovation designs,

adoption of technological innovations (both process and

product) by housing authorities, school districts, public

libraries, and municipalities has been scrutinized (Bingham,

1976a,b,c.) Examples of specific process innovations include

computerized housing, library and police operations; product

innovations include use of prefabricated components in

housing, videotape recorders in schools, and theft detec-

tion devices in libraries. His model is recreated:


Community ChAdoption of
Environment-_ Innovation by
S Demand - - Local Government


Bingham concluded that there were no national diffusion

patterns of innovation in local government. "Diffusion

patterns and cue-taking appear to exist, but these patterns

are determined largely by the specific innovation" (1976a:

205). Bingham found that the demographic variables rep-

resenting community environment, e.g., SES, size, etc.,

were linked to adoption of process innovations but failed

to influence adoption of product innovations. Within the

organizational environment, intergovernmental aid and re-

source availability were the major determinants of innova-

tion. Of organizational characteristics, only organizational

size affected adoption levels.

Bingham developed a classificatory scheme for innova-

tions: political and bureaucratic. Although his research

focused solely on the bureaucratic type, Bingham urged

exploration of political innovation. As he comments, "Much

of the past research which purports to determine adoption

patterns of political innovations actually consists of

public policy studies and does not really consider true

policy innovations" (1976a:144).

Feller and Menzel (1976) investigated the diffusion of

technological innovations among municipal agencies across

four functional fields: air pollution control, fire fight-

ing, traffic control, and solid waste collection and dis-

posal. They found within and across fields a wide variance

in the rate and extent of adoption of innovations. Degree

of innovativeness in one field was not related to the level

of innovativeness in other fields.

More specifically, Feller and Menzel's equation con-

taining indicators of resource availability and demand/pull

pressures revealed few statistically significant relation-

ships. Yet in interviews with officials, slack resources

(typically in the form of federal grants and revenue sharing

monies) emerged as important stimuli in the acquisition of

the sample technological innovations.

Three additional studies which, because of a unique

characteristic, do not fit into the matrix, deserve ex-


In the Lineberry and Fowler (1967) model, innovation

served as the independent variable. They related reform

governments (an innovative package composed of the city

manager plan and at large, nonpartisan elections) to taxa-

tion and expenditure levels of cities. The study revealed

that, generally, reformed cities spend less and tax less

than unreformed cities. Furthermore, a high level of

reformism in a city resulted in a low level of responsive-

ness to socioeconomic cleavages in the population, thus

promoting "the community as a whole" ethos.

Mohr (1969:111) suggested that innovation was "the

function of an interaction among the motivation to innovate,

the strength of obstacles against innovation, and the avail-

ability of resources for overcoming such obstacles." He

studied the innovativeness of local health departments in

several states. He assumed, as other studies had shown,

that organizational size and wealth were the strongest

predictors of readiness to innovate, especially in a

rapidly changing environment that is favorable to change.

He concluded that size is the most powerful predictor of

innovation but only insofar as it implies the presence of

motivation, obstacles, and resources. He noted, too, that

the "cosmopoliteness" of the individual, his competence

and professionalism, contributed to the propensity to


The Collier and Messick (1975) research on social

security adoption attempted to discover whether similar

adoptive behavior was the result of causation within units

of analysis, e.g., common organizational characteristics,

or of diffusion, that is, communication and emulation.

They focused on the timing of the first adoption of social

security programs in 59 countries. A prerequisites ap-

proach treats social security legislation as social and

economic transformations accompanying industrialization.

In a diffusion approach, social security adoption occurs

within an international system of communication and influ-

ence. They found that hierarchical diffusion existed, with

later adopters tending to adopt at far lower levels of

modernization than the early adopters.

The survey of the innovation literature has provided

a comprehensive culmination to the conceptual issues pre-

sented earlier. Armed with the work of previous innovation

researchers and cognizant of the conceptual issues, a model

will be developed in the following chapter. The model will

serve to guide the subsequent research.


1That varying levels of innovation exist in Florida
cities was demonstrated in a prefatory study conducted by
the author. Certain cities could be identified as innovation-
prone based on their adoption of a set of policies.

2Mention should be made of the group of economists who
address microbehavior and decision rules. See, for example,
Richard R. Nelson and Sidney G. Winter, In Search of Useful
Theory of Innovation, Working Paper #762, Institute for
Social and Policy Studies, Yale University.

3This research improves upon the process by employing
a panel of experts to assist in compiling the list of in-
novations. This process is fully explained in Chapter III.

4As copies of the questionnaire demonstrate, respon-
dents had the opportunity to report innovative policies not
included in the list.

The list of innovative policies has a quality of
universality to it, insofar as Florida cities are concerned.
It is assumed that all cities "need" tree protection or-
dinances, recreational vehicle parking regulations, and
citizen advisory boards. Thus the need issue raised by
Downs and Mohr (1975) is handled only indirectly in this
research. It is worthy of additional attention. One
potentially interesting avenue of exploration is whether a
problem severity threshold exists that fuels or defuses
innovation. How bad does a problem have to be before an
innovative action occurs?

6The questions asked of the panel of experts were
structured to elicit time delimited innovations. The panel
technique is explained in Chapter III.

7The homogeneity in this research was generated on an
a priori basis, that is, through a group of like policies
suggested by a panel of experts and a journal search. This
method is somewhat less precise than that suggested by
Eyestone (1977).

There have been other instances of microlevel classi-
fication. For example, Evan and Black (1967) distinguish
between administrative and technical innovations. Similar
classificatory schemes have set up product, process,
structure, and human innovation categories (Knight, 1967).


This study seeks to discover why some cities in Florida

are more innovative than their counterparts. The foundation

of this research is that local governments do, in fact, in-

novate. There are those who point to the near-heroic ef-

forts oftentimes required for innovative actions by munici-

palities. Hayes' (1977:13) comments are representative:

Local government, furthermore, is a low
change system by design. Innovations in
local governments run real risks. . .
The result is that, in local government,
the cards are stacked against new ideas.
There will rarely be strongly supportive
forces in the community. The inertial
drag of the system will make internal
progress slow and difficult. The polit-
ical risks are substantial.

The preceding quote makes clear that coping, reactive

behavior is reinforced by the structure of local government.

Despite this prevalent ethic, the literature review has

revealed countless examples of government entities behaving

in an innovative manner. Any hesitation as to the appropri-

ateness of linking the phrase "local government" with the

concept "innovation" should be dispelled. Innovation may

not be the hallmark of local governments, but it is not an

alien phenomenon. One of the initial aims of this study is

to measure the level of innovation in selected cities prior

to testing for the determinants of that innovativeness.

Florida cities appear to embrace innovations with

varying degrees of ardor. Some cities, quick to adopt new

computerized traffic systems, are less enthusiastic when

the innovation involves human relations policy issues.l

Other cities have reputations for being the first to ex-

periment with all types of innovations.

This dissertation explores the innovativeness of the

38 Florida cities with populations of 25,000 or greater.

Of interest is each city's propensity to adopt specific

innovative items labeled "amenities." Restriction to a

single type of innovation strengthens the research by add-

ing the quality of homogeneity, thus allaying the concerns

of Gray (1973a)and others whose data point up the dangers

in cross-field innovation research.

Amenities, as one policy grouping within the all-

encompassing set of innovative policies, have the potential

for sparking innovative behavior. Because they deal with

quality of life, policy makers may be more inclined to

entertain innovative solutions to problems than Hayes (1977)
would lead us to believe. It is likely that reliance on

traditional problem solving modes is less entrenched insofar

as amenities are concerned. Amenity innovations frequently

are of a regulatory nature and often do not entail a major

commitment of funds for their implementation. All of these

factors contribute to the supposition that amenities are

more amenable to innovative behavior.

The study is limited to cities within a single state--

Florida. The single state restriction minimizes the con-

founding factors present in most comparative research.

"The municipalities are subject to a common body of state

law, and state requirements are relatively similar for all

cities throughout the state. Moreover, to the degree urban

environments vary greatly from state to state, as the lit-

erature in political culture and state politics indicates,

inter-state variations will be controlled" (Bradley, 1977:


Upon determination of a city's propensity to adopt

amenity innovations, various causal factors will be tested

as to their relationship with innovation. These factors

predominate in policy studies but are often ignored in the

typically apolitical innovation research. "Perhaps because

of the heavy reliance on concepts and theories of 'hard'

technological change, our theories of policy innovation and

diffusion border on the depiction of innovation as the

'transfer-of-information,' akin to the diffusion patterns

of hybrid corn" (Clarke, 1977:5).

Thus, the focus is on the determinants of innovation.

An exploration of the impacts of community environmental

variables and political system factors on the dependent

variable--innovation--is the intent. There is a conscious

attempt to investigate Bingham's (1976a:217) contention

that "socioeconomic variables appear to be good predictors

of public policy regardless of whether the policy adoption

is innovative or mature." Bingham expands his argument by

noting that "in addition to the standard socioeconomic

factors, the community power structure and local political

culture also have a direct impact on the adoption of

political innovations" (217). Therefore, this research

does not terminate with the identification of community

environmental linkages with innovation. Innovation models

devoid of political system indicators tend to be static

and misleading. To accommodate this consideration, the

research includes political system factors among the

independent variables.

These determinants fit into the prerequisites per-

spective to innovation. In this work, the prerequisites

approach is utilized as a starting point. It provides

answers to some of the questions about municipal policy

innovation, but it leaves other questions unresolved.3

The prerequisites approach is but one orientation to

innovation. As the literature review demonstrated, alter-

native explanations compete with prerequisites (Collier and

Messick, 1975; Downs, 1976). The diffusion or emulation

explanation is the major alternative focus. An orientation

that has received less attention revolves around the at-

tributes of the innovation as the key links to adoption.

The most recent trend in theoretical treatises on in-

novation is to treat these three competing explanations as

complementary (Eyestone, 1977). Rather than anointing one

approach the unchallengeable answer to the subject, the

movement has been to recognize the contribution each makes

to an understanding of innovation. Perhaps the emergent

trend of the 1980s will actually integrate these approaches

into a more comprehensive pursuit.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to suggest that in any

general model of innovation, adoption is a function of the

interplay of the three factors. A general model of innova-

tion would resemble the schematic presented below.

Community Political
Environmen- System
(W ) (2)

Communication Compatibility
Channels, etc. Complexity, etc.

Prerequisites -- muation rCharacteristics of
(X ) (X2) the Innovation (X3)

\1 /

of Innovation
by City

Figure 2-1. An Innovation Model

The components of the model deserve further elucida-

tion. The prerequisites aspect is composed of environmental

variables and political system factors that exist in the

community. The thesis is that these determinants can be

associated with adoption (nonadoption) of innovation. En-

vironmental variables include socioeconomic characteristics

and city growth rates, among others. Political system

factors are measures of government structure and stability,

citizen participation, and the like.

In emulation, through exchanging information about new

policies, cities become aware of alternative solutions to

common problems. In this explanation, a city searches for

cues from cities with reputations for innovation or from

nearby cities that share a similar problem.

The potential adopter's perception of the inherent

attributes of the innovation, e.g., its cost, complexity,

compatibility with the on-going system, is the final major

component. Fliegel and Kivlin (1966), in asking respondents

to rate the attributes of innovative items, found that in-

novations perceived as most rewarding and least risky were

accepted most rapidly. This kind of calculative perception

no doubt influences the adoption decision.

The major components of the model--prerequisites,

emulation, and attributes--are interrelated. It is the

interaction of these components that produces the innova-

tion. The interrelationship is likely to be variable, that

is, in some instances adoption may be an independent de-

cision based on community needs, relatively uninfluenced by

emulation. In other cases, the diffusion component plays

a more important role. In both cases, an assessment of

the attributes of the innovation enters into the adoption


Implicit in the model is the functioning of demand.

Demand serves as a conduit through which prerequisites flow

and impact. Demand may not be a universal condition. There

are instances in which policy makers acting in their col-

lective trustee role impose an innovative solution upon

the populace. The success of nondemand actions is vari-

able. "One of the most frequently advocated principles

regarding innovation and change is that in order for change

to be successful it must be in response to a felt need"

(National Institute of Mental Health, 1971:26).

The reliance upon the prerequisites approach assumes

that the city's characteristics translate into demands upon

the community's governing body. Too, one can argue that

there is a correspondence between aggregate city character-

istics and the political philosophy of elected policy

makers. The voting public, insofar as it can ascertain the

policy positions of candidates, is likely to elect officials

who share their policy stances. This prerequisites approach

has experienced extensive use in research into public

policy operationalized by government expenditures (Dye,

1966; Clark, 1971).

In this study the aggregate data draw upon prerequi-

sites as possessing a cache of information about adoption

of innovation. The research does not abandon the other com-

ponents in the model. With a selected sample of cities

emulation and attributes aspects are pursued. From this,

speculation will be derived as to the interplay of the

components. Ultimately, a theoretical model of municipal

policy innovation is the intention.

In Chapter III innovation index scores will be com-

puted for the sample cities. Of interest is whether the

various scoring mechanisms will produce correlated scores.

In addition, innovativeness will be tested as to its policy

specificity. Chapter IV will attempt to link community

environmental variables and political system factors to

innovation scores. Composite innovation scores will be

reorganized into policy clusters for similar testing. In

Chapter V, innovation will be disaggregated into individual

policies and the characteristics of adopters will be compared

to nonadopters. Chapter VI will investigate the plausibility

of a diffusion explanation for selected policy innovations.

In Chapter VII selected cities, representative of differing

innovation levels, will be studied from an attributes per-

spective. The conclusion will present a theoretical model

of innovation based on the data of the preceding chapters.


Adopting new technology appears to be less "political"
than adopting new policies. Certainly there are political
overtones in adopting new technology--the awarding of the
contract to provide the computerized traffic system might
be a political decision--however, politics is less prevalent
in these types of adoptions. If the technological innova-
tion can be characterized as providing increased efficiency,
there is apt to be less public debate. Political innovation
is likely to raise issues salient to the public. This demon-
strates the utility of Bingham's (1976a) bureaucratic/
political classification.


No doubt there would be even less argument if it were
a technological innovation under review. Receptivity of
cities to new technology is an interesting issue; however,
it is less complex than receptivity to new policy. Tech-
nology allows for calculation of benefit cost ratios while
policy eludes facile quantification.

Unanswered questions will be pursued via the diffusion
explanation (Chapter IV) and the attributes perspective
(Chapter VII).


The community innovation process has several different

focal points. One is the initial designation of a policy

or action as innovative. Generally this label is reserved

for policies and actions that, while new to the community,

fit within the prevailing philosophical orientation. (This

could be summarized by the phrase "new but not alien to the

local community.") Secondly, "innovation" carries with it

positive baggage, that is, it is rarely value-free. Classi-

fying something as an innovation is a tacit stamp of ap-

proval. A final aspect is the innovative reputation ac-

corded some cities. Its basis appears to be folklorish as

no data exist for verification purposes.

In this chapter the focal point is the measurement of

innovation in cities. As noted in Chapter I, an innovation

is a policy that has experienced limited diffusion and is

new to the city. This represents an attempt to evaluate

various measurement schemes as to their comparability. Ad-

ditional scrutiny is applied to the issue specificity of

innovativeness. Of interest is whether innovativeness is

a pervasive factor across policy types.

Data Gathering

The methodology involved in gathering the data to

measure innovation can best be explained as a two-stage

process. First, the selection of specific amenity policy

innovations was accomplished through a "panel of experts"

technique, that is, discussions with leading figures on

Florida's municipal scene.

Walker (1973:1190) warns that selection of innovative

items can be problematic. "(W)e have no guarantee that the

issues we are studying are not highly unusual and somehow

unrepresentative of their class." Intent on reducing the

possibility of that kind of error, the panel of experts

insured outside participation in the generation of potential

innovative items.

Those polled included at least one representative of

the following categories: city managers, mayors, municipal

research directors, legislators, academicians, officials in

statewide municipal organizations, and members of the press

assigned to the city hall beat.1 Virtually all of the

polling of the panel occurred during in-field interviews;

however, in two cases written correspondence was necessary.

The experts were asked, "In your opinion, for munici-

palities, what have been the major amenity policy innova-

tions of the 1970s?" Prefacing the interview, definitions

were offered as clarification of the exact information

desired. For example, an innovation was defined as a policy

that is new to the adopting city (Rogers and Shoemaker,

1971). It is a policy that the city has not previously

adopted. It is a policy that requires approval by the mayor

and/or city council to be put into effect. Therefore, in-

novations in this research do not reflect policy shifts

occurring in the city's bureaucracy.

An amenity was explained as a policy dealing with the

quality of life in the cities. They are actions by city

policy makers that fall outside the amenity category--for

example, the common functions of government (police and fire,

water and sewer, and the like). Cities can continue to

exist without providing amenities. (Indeed, as will be

demonstrated in the subsequent section, several Florida
cities exhibit low amenity innovation levels.) Examples

from the literature suggest that several environmental

ordinances, e.g., ordinances regulating noise levels, the

cutting down and replacing of trees, the setting aside of

open spaces, represent significant amenity innovations of

the 1970s. Other types of amenity ordinances include gun

control laws, ordinances regulating sign size, ordinances

restricting cigarette smoking, and so forth. Amenities are

not technological improvements, e.g., computerized police

operations, use of optically programmed traffic signals,

and the like. The preceding items are technological innova-

tions and, as such, are beyond the scope of this research.

In analyzing the responses, the researcher selected

those policies that could be accurately classified under

the rubric "amenity." The decision rule for inclusion was

based on the criteria of congruence with the definition and

timeliness. Restricting the focus to amenities of the 1970s

(or mid to late 1960s in the case of an early or pioneer

adopter), takes into account Gray's (1973:1184) contention

that "innovativeness should not be aggregated over long

time periods." She concludes from her data that innovation

is time specific--a state's current innovativeness may be

different from its past or future level of innovation.

Worthy of mention is the possibility that by restrict-

ing the time period to the 1970s, there may be some policies

which by virtue of their late (1977) introduction have not

had ample time to diffuse. Few policies fall into this


Panel responses were supplemented by a scan of articles

in relevant journals which highlight potential innovations.

Journals lending themselves to such search included: The

Municipal Yearbook, National Civic Review, Municipal Ordi-

nance Review, and Florida Municipal Report. It became

clear from an initial scan of the journals that environmental-

related policies, e.g., land use plans and community service

policies, e.g., citizen information mechanisms, were ac-

corded innovative status. Subsequent searches revealed

other policy clusters. Compilation of the selected innova-

tions from these sources--the panel and the journals--

served as the basis for the research. The innovation eligi-

bility dilemma did not exist. None of the items fall

outside a city's realm of responsibility--they merely require

action by the governing body. The list of innovative amenity

policies can be found in Table 3-1. Descriptions of the

innovative amenity policies are contained in Appendix A.

The second stage of the data gathering centered upon

discovering which cities had adopted which policies. The

list of innovative items numbered approximately 50. Aware

of inadequate record keeping and personnel turnover in

cities, coupled with city officials who had earned an in-

formal reputation among researchers as dilatory in returning

questionnaires, an alternative strategy was developed for

part of the data gathering. Individual city ordinance books

were searched to discover whether the policy of interest

had been adopted and, if so, when it was adopted. The

advantage of this method lies in the opportunity it provides

the researcher to determine if the ordinance actually meets

the criteria for a "yes." For example, all noise control

ordinances are not equal in intent, scope, impact, etc.

However, if the question asked "has your city adopted a

noise control ordinance," the respondent would indicate that

it had when in actuality the ordinance was an early 1900s

law prohibiting "loud whistling and loud singing after the

hour of 10 P.M." This clearly is not what an innovative

noise abatement policy in the 1970s, replete with acceptable

decibel levels, means. Therefore, a direct search of city

codes allows the researcher to insure that the particular

ordinance has similar meanings across the universe of


Table 3-1. Policies Used in Calculating Innovation Scores

1. Comprehensive code of ethics for officials
2. Limitation of terms for commissioners
3. Public records retention ordinance
4. City employee residency requirement
5. Antidiscrimination ordinance
6. Human relations commission
7. Street graphics ordinance
8. Tree protection ordinance
9. Noise abatement ordinance
10. Nonspecific citizen advisory board
11. Delayed handgun purchase
12. Antismoking ordinance
13. Beautification ordinance
14. Regulation of "junk" accumulation
15. Restoration ordinance
16. Consumer protection ordinance
17. Energy/power ordinance
18. Truth in real estate sales ordinance
19. Political sign ordinance
20. Historical preservation/landmarks ordinance
21. Cultural arts commission
22. Regulation of garage sales
23. Restriction on recreational vehicle parking
24. Regulation of massage parlors
25. Downtown development commission
26. Open space requirements
27. Dwelling unit limits
28. Staged growth mechanisms
29. Low income housing set aside
30. Height Limitations on buildings
31. Landscaping of developed parcels
32. Urban homesteading
33. Adult living accommodation ordinance
34. Regulation of adult entertainment establishments
35. Inventory of architecturally significant sites
36. Creation of consumer affairs office
37. Regular reports to citizens re city policies
38. Neighborhood preservation programs
39. Sunset ordinance
40. Ombudsman
41. Utilization of impact fees
42. Cooperative agreements re natural resources
43. Utilization of citizen surveys
44. Adoption of an administrative procedures act
45. Pursuance of decentralization
46. Adoption of local government comprehensive plan

The problem of detection of early adoption and sub-

sequent repeal of an innovative policy did not emerge. This

is the advantage of using 1970 vintage items--they have not

undergone the termination process. Even so, the code of

ordinances, while not offering an extensive legislative

history, does make note of repealed ordinances. It should

be made clear that this study makes no assumptions about

commitment to or enforcement of innovative policies. Adop-

tion of the ordinance is the key. When a date discrepancy

was revealed in the ordinance search, knowledgeable inform-

ants within that city's government were contacted to clarify

the disputed point.

The municipal ordinance search was not the sole method

used in gathering the data. For those innovative policies

not likely to require codification in ordinances books,

e.g., the establishment of branch city halls, questionnaires

were sent to the city manager or chief administrative of-

ficer. Thirteen policies were listed on the questionnaire.

And because the trend is toward the compilation of zoning

ordinances into a separate code, highly specific zoning

innovations were included in a questionnaire to municipal

zoning officials. There were nine of these items. (Ap-

pendices B and C contain copies of the questionnaires.)

The use of questionnaires was thus limited to specific

city officials and policies about which it could be assumed

they were conversant. By keeping the questionnaire short

and to the point, the response rates were extremely high.

Out of a population of 38 cities, only five city managers/

chief administrative officers failed to reply for a response

rate of 86.8%. All of the zoning officials complied with

the data requests.

The purpose of this brief section has been simply to

acquaint the reader with the methods used in collecting the

data necessary for measuring innovation. Subsequent chap-

ters will include methodological notes germane to the

question being pursued.

Innovation Typology

It should be noted that the innovative policies studied

are treated as if they are of equal importance. They are

not weighted in any manner. This assumption is rife in

innovation research. ". . (T)he task of defining a basis

for determining 'worth' is frequently ignored. The re-

searchers in these cases were interested in diffusion ir-

respective of the value of the innovation" (Warner, 1974:

442). Similarly, ". no effort was made to develop any

method of determining the relative importance or desir-

ability of the programs" (Walker, 1969:882). An assessment

of the impact of the innovations on the public might be one

means of resolving the "worth" issue; however, it remains

a topic for future inquiry.

Although quantification of worth has eluded resolution,

there have been various attempts to develop a typology of

innovations, especially in organizations. For example,

innovations can be distinguished in terms of their degree

of anticipation (Zaltman et al., 1973). Programmed innova-

tions are expected and tend to encompass modest change.

Nonprogrammed innovations are nonroutine and can be divided

into two general types: slack and distress. (Slack in-

novations occur within a climate of success; distress in

conditions of unsuccessful organizational performance.)

One can differentiate between instrumental innovations

and ultimate innovations. "The latter are ends in them-

selves, but the former are aimed at specific changes that

are intended, at a later point in time, to make possible

or easier the introduction of ultimate innovations"

(Zaltman, 1973:21). This distinction forces consideration

of obstacles or resistance to change.

Innovations can be categorized according to their

"radicalness." "Innovation radicalness can be defined in

terms of existing alternatives: the more an innovation

differs from the existing alternatives, the higher is its

degree of radicalness" (Zaltman, 1973:23). It can be de-

scribed as a continuum between a point labeled "routine

situations" and one labeled "innovative situations." This

is similar to Normann's (1971) "variation" and "reorienta-

tion"--basically moderate change versus fundamental change.

(Reorientation innovations can be further broken down into

three types: systematic, idiosyncratic, and marginal.)

Innovations are studied in terms of their outcomes or


Robertson (1971) also contributes to this third cate-

gory by arguing that the designation "innovation" should

be applied according to an item's effect upon established

patterns of consumption or behavior. A continuous innova-

tion is one that has little disruptive impact on behavior

patterns. Dynamically continuous innovations have a moder-

ate impact while discontinuous innovations establish new

behavior patterns. (This corresponds to the Warren et al.

(1974) classification: gross, secondary, and primary,

respectively, according to the effect on the prevailing


Innovation typology is given a boost by Downs and Mohr

(1975:8) who suggest:

Perhaps the most straightforward way of
accounting for the prodigious empirical
instability and theoretical confusion
which arise when one surveys the results
of innovations studies is to reject the
notion that a unitary theory of innovation
exists and postulate the existence of dif-
ferent types of innovations whose adoption
can best be explained by a number of cor-
respondingly different theories . .
(T)he existence of empirically distinguish-
able categories of innovations and their
associated models would help to explain
why studies employing roughly the same
predictors achieve widely varying R's and
why the explanatory power of individual
variables is unstable across them.

This is a key point. The quest for development of a

general theory of innovation is rarely tempered by the cau-

tion that perhaps adoption is innovation-type specific.

An adopting entity may treat an innovation perceived as a

"variation" differently from the manner in which that same

entity handles an innovation labeled a "reorientation."

Or, looking at a specific innovation, it may be perceived

as routine by one potential adopter and radical by another,

due to the policy maps dominating the cities.

Measuring Innovation

As was evident in Chapter I, the study of innovation

has been marked by conceptual dissensus and methodological

confusion. There is little agreement among researchers upon

a definition of innovation. Is it merely the adoption of

an idea or practice that is perceived as new by the adopting

unit (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971)? Is innovation the adop-

tion of a policy or object that has experienced only limited

usage, suggesting that as the innovation diffuses it loses

the properties that render it innovative?4 Is the rapidity

with which an adopting entity adopts the salient feature of

an innovation (Becker and Whisler, 1969)? These variations

are confounded by a fourth notion, one which ties innova-

tion to an intensity of commitment.5

From each of these blurred definitional strains a dis-

tinct methodology emerges. When innovation is the adoption

of something perceived as new by the adopting unit, regard-

less of how many others have adopted it or the length of

time it has been available for adoption, innovation is meas-

ured simply by its presence or absence. Some of the cases

reported in the Bingham (1976a) study of technological

innovation by cities are based on this method.

If innovation revolves around the notion of limited

use, the measurement is one which weights the score an

adopter is assigned according to the number of users among

potential adopters. The Feller and Menzel (1976) research

on municipal adoption of technological innovations utilizes

this approach, as does the Clarke (1977) study of state

growth management innovations.

When early adoption is the focus, innovation is meas-

ured by the time elapsing from initial adoption by one unit

(or time elapsing since introduction of the innovation) to

its subsequent adoption by other units. Walker's (1969)

work on state policy innovations typifies this orientation

to the subject.

The question to be pursued here is whether these diver-

gent methodologies contribute to the lack of generalizability

across innovation studies. It is apparent that each of

these methodologies measures a different dimension of inno-

vation. Thus, could these definitional variations and the

concomitant measurement inconsistency contribute to the

resultant discrepant findings?

The research to this point has been scant. Downs and

Mohr (1975) would lead us to believe that there is little

correspondence between an adoption-nonadoption score and a

time elapsed derivation. They warn:

It might also be considered that aggregate
adoption-nonadoption may substitute for
time-of-adoption as a dependent variable,
or at least that one can infer relative

earliness to adopt from a relative number
of innovations adopted . We should
not hastily classify organizations that
have adopted many innovations as early
adopters. . (30)

Clarke (1977) mentions highly intercorrelated weighted

and unweighted innovation scores for a narrow range of

growth management issues; however, the finding is incidental

to the research. Beyond that mention, data are nonexistent.

Thus the degree of the relationship among these scoring

mechanisms remains mere conjecture.

The following hypothesis was tested:

The instability in the findings in innova-
tion research is affected by the opera-
tionalization of the term "innovation."
One would expect to find only moderate
correlations among the scores produced by
the different measurement schemes.6

To test the hypothesis, three operationalizations of

innovation were derived. The first--the innovation incidence

score--is a single dichotomous adoption/nonadoption score

calculated by assigning a 1 to a city if it has adopted the

policy, a 0 if it has not done so. For each city, its

score on the individual policies is summed, divided by the

total number of innovative items thus producing the com-

posite innovation score for the particular city.

The weighted innovation score is determined by assign-

ing each policy innovation a weight based upon its inverse

rank in the total frequency of its adoptions among the cit-

ies. The least extensively adopted policy receives the

highest weight. Policies with identical adoption scores

receive the same weight. These weighted measures provide

an indication of the "novelty" of the policy. The score on

each policy is summed and averaged yielding the weighted

score for each municipality.

A time based derivation is computed by figuring the

amount of time elapsed between the first and last recorded

adoption of a policy. A city receives a number correspond-

ing to the percentage of time elapsing between the first

adoption and its own acceptance of the amenity. The score

for first adoption is .000, for last (or not yet adopting)

the score is 1.000. Each city's scores are averaged and

subtracted from 1.000 to produce the time based derivation.

The time based derivation is an extension of the Walker

(1969) measurement scheme that is frequently used in innova-

tion research. It must be admitted that any measurement

employing weights (as both the weighted innovation score and

the time based score do in this research) contains a degree

of arbitrariness. An alternative method of weighting the

time score would involve use of an exponential or logarithmic

weight--thus rewarding early adopters more heavily. Such

a scheme is based on the notion that pioneer adoption is

"more innovative" than is majority adoption (a time when all

cities are adopting).

In all of the measurement schemes, a city with a

higher score tends to be more "innovative" than a city with

a lower score. Table 3-2 reveals the scores for each city.7

Table 3-2. Innovation Scores

City Incidence Weighted Time Based

St. Petersburg .588 .482 .235

Boca Raton .559 .408 .245

Gainesville .529 .450 .263

Miami .500 .396 .348

Tampa .500 .383 .230

Clearwater .470 .317 .210

Pompano Beach .470 .314 .243

Sarasota .470 .327 .223

Ft. Lauderdale .412 .268 .109

Hallandale .412 .251 .108

Hollywood .412 .273 .175

Jacksonville .412 .356 .191

Miramar .412 .275 .167

Bradenton .382 .226 .122

North Miami Beach .382 .221 .227

Plantation .382 .246 .172

Daytona Beach .353 .194 .142

Largo .353 .224 .135

Miami Beach .353 .290 .173

West Palm Beach .353 .233 .171

Melbourne .324 .187 .135

Orlando .324 .214 .093

Table 3-2.--Continued

City Incidence Weighted Time Based

Pensacola .324 .219 .144

Delray Beach .294 .130 .077

Hialeah .265 .187 .152

Lakeland .265 .115 .071

North Miami .265 .133 .118

Titusville .265 .157 .107

Lake Worth .235 .138 .048

Boynton Beach .206 .086 .040

Ft. Pierce .206 .093 .099

Pinellas Park .206 .147 .045

Key West .176 .108 .074

Panama City .176 .108 .057

Ocala .147 .108 .074

Tallahassee .147 .071 .031

Ft. Myers .118 .074 .036

Measures of association were computed for the scores

as a test of the hypothesis. Pearson correlation coeffi-

cients were as follows:

Innovation Incidence with Weighted: r= .96
Innovation Incidence with Time based: r= .87
Weighted with Time based: r= .88

It is apparent that each of the measurement schemes is
relatively highly correlated with the others. But be-

cause the weighted score was devised from a frequency of

adoption ranking method, its justification for considera-

tion by interval level tests is arguable. To avoid debate

on this question, nonparametric correlation measures were

utilized in addition to the Pearson r.

Kendall rank order correlation coefficients for the

scores were as follows:

Innovation Incidence with Weighted tau= .87
Innovation Incidence with Time based: tau= .73
Weighted with Time based: tau= .74

Spearman rank order correlations produced rhos of similar


That the findings reveal a stronger relationship than

hypothesized indicates that the variance existing in innova

tion research may not stem from the operationalization of

the term "innovation." That this aspect can be minimized

as a potential cause for the discrepant results is signifi-

cant to those researchers who continue to question why one

governmental entity is innovative and another is not.

In defining innovation and attempting to measure it,

researchers have the option of selecting any one of these

methodologies as an appropriate tool. These findings should

serve to weaken claims that operationalization of innovation

predetermines one's results. Perhaps innovation is less of

a multidimensional term than is commonly thought.

Innovation Across Policy Clusters

As noted in Chapter 1, another conceptual dilemma that

has methodological implications is the range of innovations

to be studied--single or multiple. The single innovation

case study, e.g., theCrain et al. (1969) research on fluori-

dation, is criticized for its lack of generalizability

beyond the specific issue. The multiple innovation design,

e.g., the Walker (1969) study of state policy innovation,

is attacked because it submerges the variation of innova-

tion across issue areas.

Resolution of this debate has been accomplished to a

degree by selection of related policy areas, e.g., Gray's

(1973) work on state innovation in education, welfare, and

civil rights. As Clarke (1977:10) comments, "'innovative-

ness' may be issue specific." Thus typologies have emerged

based on subject matter.0

At this point, the stability of the designation

"innovative" across issue areas became the focus. The

implication, from previously cited works, was that even

within relatively homogeneous "amenities," a community's

innovation score would vary depending on the type of

amenity being studied.

To determine whether this was the case, the 46 policy

innovations were grouped into five general policy types, on

an a priori basis, according to substance. The five policy

types included: open government policies, life style is-

sues, environmental policies, civil rights issues, and citi-

zen input mechanisms. Table 3-3 shows the groupings.

It must be reiterated that these policy clusters were

generated on an a priori basis with the assistance of the

aforementioned panel of experts. Items within the subsets

are linked by a substantive bond according to the informed

opinion of experts. Granted some of these items could be

shifted into a different cluster. On the whole, this sys-

tem reflects the informed opinion of experts.

Factor analysis was employed to determine whether the

innovative policies clustered according to adoption rates.

Adoption rate clusters did not duplicate the a priori policy

groupings.11 For example, policies that have been labeled

"environmental" have varying adoption rates and, therefore,

do not fall into one clear cluster that can be labeled

environmental. Thus when using the clusters, later in the

analysis their a priori method of construction must be kept

in the forefront. Of special interest is whether the in-

dependent variables (Chapter IV) explain the variation

within clusters.

As is clear from Table 3-4, even within a common

category such as amenities, the designation "innovative

place" varies depending upon the policy subset. For

Table 3-3. Policy Clusters






Comprehensive code of ethics for officials
Limitation of terms for commissioners
Public records retention ordinance
Regular reports to citizens re city policies
Sunset ordinance
Administrative procedures act
Pursuance of decentralization

Delayed handgun purchase
Antismoking ordinance
Regulation of "junk" accumulation
Restoration ordinance
Political sign ordinance
Historical preservation/landmarks ordinance
Cultural arts commission
Regulation of garage sales
Restriction of recreational vehicle parking
Regulation of massage parlors
Downtown development commission
Inventory of architecturally significant sites
Neighborhood preservation programs
Utilization of impact fees
Adoption of local government comprehensive plan
Adult living accommodation ordinance
Regulation of adult entertainment establishments

Street graphics ordinance
Tree protection ordinance
Noise abatement ordinance
Open space requirements
Dwelling unit limits
Staged growth mechanisms
Height limitations on buildings
Landscaping of developed parcels
Beautification ordinance
Cooperative agreements re natural resources

City employees residency requirement
Antidiscrimination ordinance
Human relations commission
Low income housing set aside
Urban homesteading

Nonspecific citizen advisory board
Consumer protection ordinance
Energy/power ordinance
Truth in real estate sales ordinance
Creation of consumer affairs office
Utilization of citizen surveys

Table 3-4. Innovation Scores for Policy Clusters

Open Life Environ- Civil Citizen
City* Government Style mental Rights Input

Boca Raton .286 .529 .900 .200 .143

Boynton Beach .000 .154 .555 .000 .000

Bradenton .000 .529 .600 .000 .000

Clearwater .143 .529 .700 .200 .143

Coral Gables .000 .400 .400 .000 .143

Daytona Beach .000 .353 .800 .000 .000

Delray Beach .143 .176 .800 .400 .286

Ft. Lauderdale .286 .353 .800 .400 .286

Ft. Myers .143 .059 .200 .000 .000

Ft. Pierce .143 .118 .400 .000 .000

Gainesville .143 .470 .700 .600 .428

Hallandale .000 .231 1.000 .200 .250

Hialeah .143 .353 .300 .600 .428

Hollywood .000 .353 .900 .400 .286

Jacksonville .428 .470 .300 .200 .571

Key West .000 .154 .444 .000 .000

Lake Worth .143 .353 .400 .000 .000

Lakeland .143 .235 .600 .200 .143

Largo .143 .235 .800 .200 .143

Melbourne .428 .235 .800 .000 .286

Miami .286 .765 .600 .200 .286

Miami Beach .286 .412 .500 .200 .286

Miramar .143 .353 .900 .000 .143

Table 3-4.--Continued

Open Life Environ- Civil Citizen
City* Government Style mental Rights Input

North Miami .143 .176 .700 .200 .143

North Miami Beach .000 .231 .333 .400 .250

Ocala .143 .235 .200 .000 .000

Orlando .571 .294 .600 .400 .000

Panama City .000 .353 .300 .000 .000

Pensacola .286 .529 .500 .000 .000

Pinellas Park .000 .154 .555 .000 .000

Plantation .000 .412 .700 .200 .143

Pompano Beach .143 .412 .800 .200 .000

St. Petersburg .571 .588 .900 .400 .571

Sarasota .143 .588 .600 .400 .000

Tallahassee .143 .118 .300 .000 .286

Tampa .428 .588 .600 .400 .286

Titusville .571 .294 .500 .000 .286

West Palm Beach .428 .353 .700 .000 .000

*Cities listed alphabetically

example, the lead cities in the open government issue area

are Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Titusville, but when the

focus shifts to life style policies, the front runner is

Miami. Hallandale outdistances the other cities in adopt-

ing environmental policies (with Boca Raton, Hollywood,

Miramar, and St. Petersburg close behind). In the civil

rights policy area, Gainesville and Hialeah earn the "most

innovative" label and in citizen input, Jacksonville and

St. Petersburg lead. It is interesting to note the frequency

of St. Petersburg's appearances in the leader role despite

the particular issue area. (St. Petersburg had the highest

innovation incidence and weighted innovation scores in the

preceding section.)


Using Florida municipal innovation data, this chapter

has demonstrated that:

(1) whatever is causing the instability in innovation

scores noted by several observers, the different operation-

alizations of the term "innovation" is not a major factor.

The importance of this conclusion lies in its rela-

tionship to the issues raised at the beginning of this

chapter. Compilation of a list of policies purported to be

innovative revealed persistent themes. Citizen involvement,

civil rights, openness in government, concern for the en-

vironment, and consideration of miscellaneous life style

matters have become legitimate foci of local government.

The innovations representing these categories are novel-

ties, but in the majority of cases, their appearance in the

listing signifies their legitimacy as areas for governmental

action. Perhaps legitimacy and "goodness" are sequential


(2) The validity of a city's reputation for innovative-

ness hinges upon the specific amenity policy area under

scrutiny. For the most part cities have concentrated their

innovativeness within limited policy boundaries.


iRather than resort to an intuitively compiled list of
innovations, "knowledgeables"--individuals with first-hand
experience in municipal innovation--were sought. Experts
representative of particular segments of the city system
were contacted to gauge their willingness to participate in
the panel. Some declined; however, the final list of
knowledgeable included two city managers (one from a large
city, the other manages a smaller city), one mayor, one
city commissioner, one municipal research director, two
state legislators who have served on legislative committees
that deal with cities, two academicians who conduct urban
field work, one high-ranking official of a statewide
municipal organization, and two members of the press who
cover the city halls in two major cities. Each of these
individuals suggested innovations worthy of inclusion in
this study. Environmental policies were the most frequently
mentioned, followed by innovations linked to life styles.
The experts who worked in an administrative capacity tended
to mention innovations related to open government. In some
cases, policies shared the characteristic of having a
regulatory nature.

Amenities build upon the base of common functions that
all cities share. Some cities choose to participate in the
provision of amenities, other cities, especially those where
a "limited government" ethos prevails, do not adopt many
amenities. Purely bureaucratic innovations, such as adopt-
ing a new position classification system for city employees,
fall outside the amenity category.

3n the analysis, two of the items gleaned from the
journal scanning process were deleted from consideration due
to their total absence from the Florida municipal scene.
The deletions were: (1) regulation of lobbying the city
council/commission, and (2) restrictions on nonreturnable
beverage containers.

See the Bingham (1976a) discussion of "fragility."

5In innovation research, intensity of commitment is
measured through use of an aggregate innovation. The re-
search slant becomes the number of component parts adopted
by the entity. Clarke's (1977) work on state growth manage-
ment innovation tracks this approach. Intensity of com-
mitment will not be tested here because the innovative
policies, although they can be classified into groups, are
not really "components" of a single concept.

The hypothesis was derived from the Downs and Mohr
(1975) suggestion that dichotomous adoption measures and
time of adoption measures are not synonymous. Because the
scores are constructed from a similar base, however, it
is logical to expect some degree of association among them.
The magnitude of the correlations is of interest.

Although Coral Gables is included in subsequent
analyses, its questionnaire responses were received beyond
the deadline established for this specific portion of the
study. Thus Coral Gables is absent from this section.

Scores reported in Table 3-1 are based on a subset of
34 policies of the total 46. They represent the results of
the ordinance search and the zoning official questionnaire.
This portion of the study was restricted to those 34 policies
on which complete time information was available.

The Pearson correlation coefficient yields an r of
.96, .87, and .88, respectively. In most social science
research the relationships would be labeled highly corre-
lated. It should be noted that where R2 = .76 and R2 = .77,
almost 25 percent of the variance is left unexplained.

10For example, Clarke's (1977) work dealt solely with
growth management policies at the state level.

llUsing orthogonal factor analysis with varimax rota-
tion the 46 items reduced to 17 clusters.


The portion of the model studied in this chapter posits

policy adoption as a consequence of community environment

features and political system factors. This is not a strained

notion. "The data suggest that city councils adopt policies

which are congruent with needs rooted in pressures from the

environment" (Eulau and Eyestone, 1968:541). The model is

deceptively simple:

Sv Amenity Policy
P litical

It must be reiterated that this model is merely a

piece of the more inclusive model presented in Chapter II.

The larger model encompasses communication and emulation as

well as the attributes of the innovative policy itself.

These aspects will be examined in subsequent chapters.

There are internal features such as individual and group

demands and the policy orientations of local decision

makers impacting upon policy adoption (Eulau and Eyestone,

1968). These factors are implicit in the larger model.

Isolation of community environmental variables and

political system factors and the rationale for their inclu-

sion in this study takes place after a discussion of the

dependent variable. Propositions are developed and in-

corporated into the discussion of empirical indicators.

The Dependent Variables

The dependent variable on the outcome side of the

model is, of course, innovation. Chapter III reports three

different, but highly intercorrelated, innovation scores

for each city. Rather than selecting one set of measure-

ments to represent the innovation phenomenon, the cities'

scores were transformed into standard scores. These

standard scores were summed and divided by three to produce
the dependent variable. Standardized innovation scores

for the cities are shown in Table 4-1.

Independent Variables and Propositions

Innovation literature and determinants research provide

initial cues of independent variables worthy of exploration

as to their relationship with adoption of innovative poli-

cies. Within the various theoretical categories are com-

ponent empirical measures. The theoretical categories

utilized in this research rely to some degree upon the

Aiken and Alford (1970a,b) works. The empirical indicators

emanate from the broad expanse of determinants research.

Table 4-1. Standardized Innovation Scores

Standardized Standardized
City Innovation City Innovation
Scores Scores

St. Petersburg



Boca Raton





Pompano Beach

North Miami Beach

Miami Beach




Ft. Lauderdale

West Palm Beach



























Daytona Beach


North Miami

Delray Beach

Coral Gables


Lake Worth

Pinellas Park

Key West

Fort Pierce

Panama City

Boynton Beach



Fort Myers

- .0633

- .0768

- .1640

- .1794

- .2026

- .3410

- .6196

- .6833

- .7510

- .8233

- .9866









Prior to presenting the hypotheses, it should be re-

iterated that the innovation scores measure the adoption of

innovative amenities, a subset of the vast pool of new

policies. Thus, although Bingham (1975) assures us that

the socioeconomic variables that can be linked to expendi-

ture policies are transferable to the adoption of innovation,

one must proceed warily. Those same variables that are

associated with the tendency to adopt innovations, in gen-

eral, may move in the opposite direction when innovative

amenities are the outputs.

Political Culture4

Components of political culture tend to surface when

studying innovation. Socioeconomic heterogeneity has been

linked to the propensity to innovate (Downs, 1976). High

income, too, has demonstrated a positive association with

innovation (Walker, 1969). (Scott (1968), however, found

homogeneous populations ripe for innovative policy choices.)

Educational attainment has evinced no clear trend when

linked to innovation adoption (Walker, 1969; Bingham, 1975;

Downs, 1976). Conservative political values, on the other

hand, have been associated with the failure to innovate

(Bingham, 1975).

In this study several indicators of political culture

were selected:

(1) the percentage of foreign stock and (2) the

percentage of blacks in the population. These

figures were combined into (3) a heterogeneity

index (Swanson and Swanson, 1977). (4) A liberal-

ism score based on the percentage of the vote

cast for the 1966 Democratic party's gubernatorial

nominee. (The 1966 Robert King High Claude

Kirk race has earned the reputation in Florida as

one of the clearest instances of a classic liberal -

conservative battle. Kirk, the conservative, was

the victor.) (5) the proportion of "natives" in

the city's population, that is, the number of

residents who were born in Florida, (6) Per capital

income as a measure of the relative wealth of the

city's inhabitants, (7) Median age as an indicator

of the stage in the life cycle for the average

city resident, (8) Median education as representa-

tive of educational attainment in the community,

(Both education and income are measures of status

and high status is often linked with innovation

(Scott, 1968))


Public regardingness rather than private regardingness

should prevail in those cities with high amenity innovation

scores as represented by the standardized score and the

policy area scores as well. Variables frequently con-

sidered indicative of public regardingness (that is, "the

community as a whole" ethos) and the direction of their

relationship with innovation include: percentage foreign

stock, percentage black, heterogeneity index--in these

three cases one would anticipate a negative correlation

with innovation. Per capital income and median education

should reveal a high positive correlation with innovation.

The liberalism score and innovation, especially the

open government, civil rights, and citizen input clusters,

should be positively correlated. Negative correlations

should emerge with the native population variable, in that

a city with a higher proportion of native Floridians is

likely to be more conservative. The traditional Southern

democratic conservatism has not been diluted by the high

in-migration that some cities have experienced.

So little has been done with the impact of median age

on demands for policies that it is difficult to anticipate

whether any relationship will exist. There are substantial

variations in the median ages for the sample cities. Per-

haps the age variable should be considered predescriptive,

merely exploratory.


The notion of "turbulence" (Aiken and Alford, 1970a)

deals with motion or change within the community. Is the

city experiencing rapid shifts in population size or is it

a relatively stable population? (The state of Florida is

noted for its accelerated growth rates in the 1950s and

1960s, and its cities have consistently appeared atop

any list of the fastest growing cities in the United States

(Berry, 1972)).

Turbulence is operationalized in these variables:

(1) the percentage population change from 1960-1970

as a basic indicator of community turbulence.

(2) The percentage change in black population 1960-

1970 as representative of the type of population

shift. (3) The percentage of inhabitants residing

in the same house as they did five years earlier

as a measure of stability. (4) The percentage

change in per capital income 1970-1976 as an indi-

cator of both the qualitative change in city growth

and the impact of economic opportunities. (5) The

percentage change in the number of municipal em-

ployees as a gauge of the city's response to the

pressures of growth or stagnation.


Turbulence signifies demands on decision makers. An

abundance of demands might tempt decision makers toward

adoption of alternative solutions to the problems. To a

city with a burgeoning population, environmental ordinances

move closer toward the necessity end of the amenity-need

continuum. Thus, the greater the population growth, the

higher the innovation scores, especially the environmental

policy cluster. Growth in black population should be

positively correlated with innovation, particularly the

adoption of civil rights policies. Shifts in the per

capital income level contribute to community turbulence; how-

ever, increases in income ought to provide the element of

"slack" resources that researchers tend to link with innova-

tion adoption. This is "qualitative" turbulence.

Increases in the number of municipal employees ought

to increase the professionalism in the city; however, the

change may be a function of the already mentioned variables

in this category, thus causation may be elusive. The

residency variable, although it has a superficial linkage

to the native population measure, really gauges a different

phenomenon, that is, short-time stability. It is based on

the percentage of the population that lives in the same

residence as five years earlier. In keeping with the

directionality of the other turbulence variables, it is

hypothesized that the greater the residency figure, the

lower the rate of innovation.

Community Differentiation and Continuity

In the majority of cases, size--be it a characteristic

of an organization (Mohr, 1969), a city (Bingham, 1975),

or a state (Walker, 1969)--reveals a positive relationship

with innovation adoption. In contrast, Aiken and Alford

(1970a) cite support for the position that older and larger

cities are encumbered by bureaucracy and therefore tend to

be less receptive to innovative policies. Their own

research does not support this contention, however.

In this research three measures reflect community

differentiation and continuity:

(1) city size is merely the 1970 population. City

age is measured by (2) the number of years the city

has been incorporated and (3) the period during

which the city reached the 25,000 population mark.


Previous research has shown city size to have a major

impact on innovation. Because the focus is on amenities,

the hypothesis tested here anticipates a diminution in the

importance of city size although the correlation should

remain positive. This is based somewhat upon Scott's

(1968) linking of innovation adoption with stable, homo-

geneous, high status populations. Those characteristics

generally are not descriptive of large cities. Middle

size cities may be the most amenable to adoption of these

innovative policies. The importance of city age may be

more problematic, especially in the policy clusters. The

hypothesis is that younger cities will have higher innova-

tion scores than will their older counterparts. Perhaps

younger cities are more prone toward experimentation than

are the more established cities.

Community Integration

Community integration is part of the more abstract

"sense of community." The existence of communication

networks and the ease of contacts among social groups pro-

vide cues as to the level of integration in the community.

The unemployment rate is frequently used as an indicator of

community integration, with high unemployment a spark to

community disintegration (Aiken and Alford, 1970a). In the


(1) the unemployment rate (1970) and (2) the per-

entage of owner occupied housing are utilized as

measures of community integration. A high propor-

tion of renters is assumed to introduce lower quality

transience into the city. Thus, the greater the

incidence of owner occupied housing, the more at-

tachment to the community is fostered.


The proportion of owner occupied housing is frequently

used in determination of public versus private regardingness.

Cities with higher incidences of home ownership should be

more innovative. However, the percentage unemployed, a

measure of disintegration, should produce a negative cor-

relation with innovation.


Community poverty serves as a refinement of the per

capital income measure. Rather than being incorporated into

the political culture category, it is set apart as a

separate entity to accord it some prominence. Community

poverty is measured simply by:

(1) the percentage of the population falling below

the poverty level.


The poverty variable should produce results similar to

the unemployed variable, that is, negative correlations with

innovation. Cities with larger poverty populations tend to

focus on policies toward the "needs" end of the continuum,

rather than amenities.


Overall, Florida's economy relies heavily on tourism.

This dependence renders Florida different from the bulk of

the states. Tourism carries with it an awareness of the

value of attractions, be they natural or artificial. Among

cities, however, the importance of tourism to the local

economy varies. This category provides an interesting

adjunct to the economic diversity indicators discussed

below. Tourism is measured by:

(1) a tourist:resident ratio calculated for each

city based on the number of tourists designating

the city as a destination.


The tourism ratio, measuring a phenomenon that no other

variable approaches, should be positively associated with

innovation, especially the environmental and life style

policy clusters. There should be an absence of a relation-

ship between tourism and open government, civil rights, or

citizen input areas.

Physical Environment

The city's physical environment is the backdrop against

which policy decisions emerge. In most cases it is a

given (either the city has a harbor or it does not); however,

the indicators used here possess an alterable quality.

For example:

(1) the city's land area (square miles) and (2) its

reliance on annexations are indicators of physical

environment. (3) Density as a measure of housing

patterns is subject to change if growth rates falter

or city boundaries expand. Finally, (4) physical

environment expenditures represent a city's fiscal

commitment to its surroundings. Included in this

statistic are funds allocated to conservation and

development of natural resources, pollution control,

sanitary landfills, flood control and plant control.


Density should tie into growth pressures, thus the

hypothesis is that the relationship of density to innova-

tion will be positive. Land area solely, however, is more

speculative, but a cautious hypothesis is offered linking

land area and innovation in a negative direction. Cities

with higher physical environment spending should produce

higher innovation scores, particularly in the environmental

and life style policy clusters. A city which has utilized

the annexation mechanism is more prone to adopt innovations,



Geographical location will be isolated as a factor in

the diffusion explanation of innovation adoption (Chapter

VI); however, here it is treated as potentially significant

in the prerequisites model.

(1) Region refers to the portion of the state in

which the city is located, and (2) metropolitan

type describes the place of the city in relation to

adjacent communities.


If there is any credence to the "centers of innova-

tion" argument, one would anticipate central cities, es-

pecially those located in the central and southern regions

of the state to be more innovative.

Centralization of Community Power

The concept of community power, some argue, once func-

tioned as a paradigm for urban politics research (Masotti

and Lineberry, 1978). As such it served as the focal point

for a spate of case studies. In comparative city analysis,

the impact of community power on public policy has been

variable. It must be noted that the conflicting results

may have been a function of the operationalization of the


The treatment of community power in this research

builds upon the basis provided by Hawley (1963) and Aiken

and Alford (1970a,b). Community power encompasses three

ideas: concentration of systematic power, power diffusion

through mass citizen participation, and centralization of

elite power (Aiken and Alford, 1970a). The first two

aspects are addressed in this work. The concentration of

systemic power is measured by

(1) the percentage of manager, proprietors, and

officials in the labor force (the MPO ratio). Power

diffusion through citizen participation (political

competition) is gauged by (2) the mean number of

candidates per race, (3) the contestability of

municipal elections, and (4) voter turnout rates

in city elections.


Addressing the first aspect of community power, cities

with decentralized power structures ought to be more in-

novative. Thus one would expect a positive correlation

between MPO ratios and innovation. (High MPO ratios re-

flect decentralized community power.) There is debate on

whether politically competitive systems are conflictual and

thereby stalemated. Here it is anticipated that political

competition, as represented by the mean number of candidates

per race, the contestability of elections, and city elec-

tion turnout rates, serves as a spur to innovation. These

positive associations should be highest among open govern-

ment and citizen input clusters.

Economic Diversity

This category focuses on the economic activities of

city residents. For example, industrialization has been

both linked with innovation (Walker, 1969) and disassociated

from it (Downs, 1976). Economic diversity is conceptualized

in two ways:

(1) by the percentages of the civilian labor force

employed in manufacturing, wholesale and retail

sales, services, educational services, construction

and government, and (2) by the city's classification

as predominantly a retailing, resort, education,

manufacturing, diversified retailed or armed forces

center (Forstall, 1967). The latter measure is based

on the relative amount of, for example, manufacturing

to retail employment, or the proportion of the resi-

dent labor force involvement in resort-related employ-

ment as opposed to manufacturing or retail employment.

An additional aspect of economic diversity is quanti-

fied in (3) the spring 1970 worker-nonworker ratio.


A high worker:nonworker ratio should be associated with

high innovation scores. Hypothesizing the directionality

of the correlations for the various employment categories

is more spectulative. It seems reasonable to assume that

the more innovative cities will have a high percentage of

employees in service related employment, wholesale and

retail sales, and manufacturing. (There are greater amounts

of these activities in larger cities and size has been

mentioned as a spark to innovation.) Likewise, if education

and innovation are related, it follows that cities with

higher percentages in educational services will be more in-

novative. The percentages involved in construction and

government may reveal a negative relationship with


Cities falling into the resort category should have

the highest innovation scores, followed by manufacturing,

retailing, and education cities. Armed forces cities

should have the lowest innovation scores. The other classi-

fications should fall within the range set by these


Government Stability

Seldom is the theoretical construct "government sta-

bility" analyzed as to its impact upon innovation adoption.

The work of Bingham (1976a) and Downs (1976) lands the

closest when they discuss organizational environments. But

still, characteristics of the organizational environment

tend to concentrate upon the existence of professionalism

in the organization, the availability of slack resources,

and so forth.

Thus, in this category especially, this research charts

new territory. Government stability is represented by:

(1) the number of years the city has had its present

governmental form (mayor-council or council-manager),

(2) the term of office for the council, and

(3) whether the council terms overlap.

Much of the innovation research has touted the role of

the executive as influential in explaining the adoption of

innovation. The effect of executive leadership on the fate

of fluoridation referenda (Rosenthal and Crain, 1966) and

the importance of individual "cosmopoliteness" in the

motivation to adopt innovations (Mohr, 1969) are but two

representative works. (One might also note Downs' (1976)

finding that the ideology of an agency director occupies a

central position in innovation adoption. Downs, like

Rosenthal and Crain, studied a single innovation, thus

generalizations remain cautious endeavors.)

To get at the role of leadership in adopting innovative

policies, a measure of (4) administrative stability was

calculated using city manager tenure. The measurement was

the number of years the city manager had served as of 1973.

(Thirty of the 38 sample cities have the council-manager

form of government.)


The innovative place propositions constructed to this

point project a city with a middle to upper class populace,

experiencing growth pressures, dependent upon tourism, with

a decentralized power structure. Elements of stability are

introduced into this vision by long-time city managers and

council members with four year terms serving to spur innova-

tion. Linking the newness of governmental form to innova-

tion is more problematic. One might anticipate higher

innovation scores in cities where the council terms are

nonoverlapping, thus allowing for abrupt shifts in policy.

Government Structure

One aspect of governmental structure that consistently

appears in innovation studies is governmental form; however,

it is frequently treated as the dependent variable. The

presence of the city manager form has been considered in-

novative (McVoy, 1940; Lineberry and Fowler, 1967; Scott,

1968). In this research, components of governmental struc-

ture function as independent variables impacting upon the

adoption of innovative policies. Included are:

(1) governmental form (mayor-council or council-

manager), (2) mayoral selection mechanisms, (3) the

kind of vote the mayor has on the city council/

commission, and (4) the extent of the mayor's

authority over city operations.


Council-manager systems are generally thought to be

more innovative structures, despite the Lineberry and

Fowler (1967) work which demonstrated that mayor-council

cities were more responsive entities. In this study the

proposition is that council-manager cities will reveal

higher innovation scores. Strong mayor cities (with a

mayor elected by the people, who votes on all council is-

sues, and has authority over the city's operation) should

produce lower innovation rates.


To arrive at a notion of the organizational environ-

ment in city government, two measures of professionalism

were calculated. As has been pointed out, professionalism

is frequently linked to the propensity to adopt innovations.

(1) The number of municipal employees per 10,000

population provides a general indication of pro-

fessionalism while (2) the number of professional

planning staff lends more specificity to the con-

cept. Planner tend to be thought of as "idea" people

in city government.


Hired expertise should provide an impetus for innova-

tion. Greater numbers of municipal employees albeit a

crude measure should be linked to higher innovation scores.

Larger planning staffs should lead to more innovation,

especially in environmental policy.

Government Expenditures

Government expenditures, too, have served researchers

as dependent variables primarily as a gauge of a government

entity's commitment to a policy area. Socioeconomic vari-

ables such as urbanization, industrialization, income and

education were found to be more important in predicting

policy choices (expenditures) than were political system

factors (Dye, 1966). In this research government expendi-

tures are treated as independent variables with the potential

for explaining variation in innovation scores.

An overall summary indicator is used (1) per capital

general expenditures, along with (2) culture and

recreation expenditures, e.g., participant and spec-

tator recreation, special facilities and parks, and

(3) economic environment expenditures, e.g., welfare,

employment opportunity and development, veterans

services, and housing.0 Individual expenditure

items include (4) highway expenditures, (5) police

and fire spending, (6) parks and recreation spending,

(7) library expenditures, and (8) expenditures for

comprehensive community development planning.


Overall, a high spending city will be more innovative.

However, when broken down into expenditure categories, both

highway spending and police and fire expenditures should be

negatively correlated with innovation. Parks and recreation

spending and library expenditures should produce high

positive correlations with innovation.

Fiscal Stability

Of increasing concern is the amount of fiscal stress

experienced by the city. The ability of the city to with-

stand a fluctuating national economy is important. Three

variables contribute to fiscal stability:

(1) the size of the city debt, (2) the proportion of

that debt which is nonguaranteed, and (3) the per-

centage of municipal general revenue that is provided

by the city's own sources.


One would anticipate higher innovation scores among

fiscally stable cities; thus negative correlations should

be found with debt. A positive association between per-

centage general revenue from own sources and percentage

nonguaranteed debt and innovation is to be expected.


The zero order correlations and mean innovation scores

are presented in Tables 4-2 and 4-3. A striking element in

the results for the standardized innovation score is the

fate of the hypotheses for the political culture variables.

The percentage foreign stock is significant but in a non-

hypothesized direction. Percentage black, heterogeneity,

and liberalism, although they are in the hypothesized direc-

tion, are not significant. Native population and per capital

income approach but do not attain significance levels.

Higher median age is associated with higher innovation

scores. The median education hypothesis is rejected.

To sum up, there is complexity surrounding these in-

dicators beyond mere public versus private regardingness.

Even linking income and education as measures of social

status, a convention common in determinants research, is

inappropriate for innovation. The foreign stock correlation

presages a greater role for city size than has been


For the policy clusters, the lack of relationships

is surprising. Percentage foreign stock and civil rights

adoptions are associated, as is liberalism, with civil

rights and citizen input adoptions. The environmental

policy cluster is more supportive of the public regarding-

ness ethos with a low percentage of native population and

higher per capital income. Higher median age is also

associated with environmental adoptions.

Table 4-2. Zero Order Correlations

Standard Policy Clusters
Score Open Life Environ- Civil Citizen
Gov't Style mental Rights Input

Empirical Indicators


% foreign stock .284* -.134 .188 .133 .274* .246

% black population -.173 .122 -.100 -.137 -.132 -.185

Heterogeneity index -.073 .202 -.038 -.102 -.093 -.025
Liberalism score .180 -.225 .193 -.267 .292* .315*

Native population -.251 .052 -.085 -.516*** -.103 -.024

Per capital income .237 -.110 .178 .347* .195 .094

Median age .254 -.096 .222 .328* .111 -.048

Median education -.036 -.003 -.024 .114 -.013 -.020


% population change .182 .084 -.022 .389** -.033 .210

% black population change .212 .296* -.069 .176 .289* .398**

*p < .05
**p < .01
***p < .001

Table 4-2.--Continued

Standard Policy Clusters
Score Open Life Environ- Civil Citizen
Gov't Style mental Rights Input

% residence
(5 years same house)

Change in pc income













% change in number of
municipal employees


City Size (1970 population)

Years incorporated


% unemployed

% owner occupied housing


% below poverty level


Tourist:resident ratio







-.287* -.109



























-.195 -.247

-.160 -.254 -.100

.141 -.008 -.205

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