This paper examines the emergence of American governors as modern day CEOs from the historical perspective. In the 1960s, the shift in the power of the governorship was beginning, and by the 1970s, the trend toward stronger chief executives was reinforced by various federalism initiatives and the increasing complexity of managing state government. As the 1980s arrived, shifts in federal responsibilities to state governments, economic challenges and competitiveness, increased urbanization, demands for additional services and programs, and accelerating technologies have required a new kind of leadership in the governor’s office. Such leadership requires not only authority, but a managerial expertise and information to be successful and effective as a governor. With this emergence of a “new breed” of governors, the office has acquired a growth in respect and power. Over the last forty years, five out of the last seven U.S presidents were state governors before becoming the country’s chief executive. This is unprecedented in American history. During the first half of the twentieth century, governors mostly functioned in the traditional role as state figurehead in a strongly political framework. They were often not known beyond their state’s boundaries, and they spent an estimated 15% of their time on traditional management and administration. Today, if states were considered corporations, most would be among the Fortune 500 companies! Now governors are functioning more like corporate chief executive officers than traditional politicians. This paper seeks to explain this shift toward governors becoming influential, effective and powerful organizational leaders.
Thomas, Jennie Carter and Churchman, Richard L.
"Governors as CEOs: An Evolution,"
Journal of the North American Management Society: Vol. 5:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://thekeep.eiu.edu/jnams/vol5/iss1/7