Lucia Travierso, MA, University of Tutin Sara Viotti, PhD, University of Turin Gloria Guidetti, PhD, University of Chieti-Pescara Mara Martini, PhD, University of Turin Daniela Converso, University of Turin
The aim of the present study was to investigate well-being and quality of working of Italian mayors during covid-19 pandemic emergency.
The recent world events related to Covid-19 pandemic, have brought to forefront the role of public policy experts. In Italy, mayors, government bodies, and local bodies (artt. 36 co. 1 and 50 co.1, D. Lgs. N. 267/2000), play a key role in problem-management in times of crisis. In particular, at the local political level, mayor has been one of the most directly involved figure in the covid-19 emergency management, both from a social and administrative point of view. The role of leadership played by Italian mayors implies the management of a high level of stress; in exceptional times of crisis, like the current health emergency, leaders have to find in themselves the resources needed to make important decisions for their organization and others? one (Perrone, 2020). In many ways, stress and leadership are inextricably interlinked (Harms et al., 2017) and in the same way, the interaction between work-related stress and leadership has been central in psychological research. Nevertheless, these themes are still deepened for the political and the administrative leadership. In order to fill this gap in the literature, the present study aimed to identify the themes of well-being and quality of working life in relation to the mayor?s role, focusing on the elements that may be both a source of stress and a source of satisfaction for them.
In total, 17 Italian mayors were interviewed for approximately 30 minutes. The research employed a qualitative design, referring to the Template Analysis (King, 1998) approach to develop the interview?s check-list and analyze the data.
The findings of this analysis revealed that the management of pandemic emergency has increased stress levels already experienced by the mayors. Moreover, the mayors, feeling a stronger sense of responsibility towards the administered communities, were most exposed to negative spillover from work to private life (both strain-based and time-based). Findings revealed that the political and administrative management of pandemic has exacerbated mayors work-life conflict, yet considered a critical aspects of the mayor role also in ?normal times? (before pandemics).
This study highlights the several difficulties which the mayors have been facing to. Specifically, this research highlights how the interaction between work and private life is characterized by a critical negative spillover. The most relevant limitation of the present study was its ?local? nature. The inclusion in the sample of 13 mayors from Basilicata may not have led to reveal many critical difficulties of the emergency management. In fact, in the period in which the interviews were carried out, this Italian region was considered a ?Covid-low risk-region?. Another limitation of this study was linked to the snowball sampling procedure.
Overall, the present study has innovative aspects and several practical implications. The most innovative aspect is represented by the type of ?professional? figure which has been considered. The qualitative nature of this study allowed the analysis of various mayors? experiences and perceptions and the deepening of the meaning of their work and their work experiences. Moreover, having focused on the work done by the mayors during the Coronavirus pandemic contributes to underline the efforts that the mayors made and are still making to protect citizens? health. From a practical perspective, these findings suggest that it could be useful the development of training activities to support the mayors in managing stress psychosocial risks to which they are exposed during their work. Moreover, during this training sessions it should be given consideration to work-life balance and work-life conflict themes, in order to help mayor in identifying strategies to balance family and form domain. Finally, in reference to the delicate historical period that the world is living, psychological counseling should be offered to the mayors to protect them from the psychological consequences that may rise as a result of being in ?first line? in managing these dramatic events. References. D. Lgs. N. 267/2000, artt. 36 co. 1 and 50 co.1. Harms P. D., Cred? M., Tynan M., Leon M., Jeung W., (2017). Leadership and stress: A meta-analytic review. The Leadership Quarterly. 178-194. King N., (1998). Using template in a thematic analysis of text. In Simon G., Cassel C., editors. Essenziale guide to qualitative methods in organizational research, London: Sage, 256-70. Perrone G., (2020). https://www.paroledimanagement.it/resilienza-ascolto-e-condivisione-la-leadership-in-tempi-di-crisi/