Preparing Tennessee Municipalities to Equitably Serve Changing Communities

Candace Jon Warner, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this research study is three-fold, 1) to identify ways in which Tennessee municipal governments are currently providing diversity-related training, programs, and resources to employees to help better serve a diverse public, 2) to identify future diversity-related training, programs, and resources that may be beneficial in helping Tennessee municipalities serve diverse communities, and 3) to identify current service delivery efforts that serve diverse constituents. The central research question is, “In what ways can Tennessee municipalities better prepare to serve an increasingly diverse public?” An online survey was delivered to Tennessee municipal government leaders, administrators, and non-managerial staff to determine current diversity training, programming, resources, and service-delivery efforts, as well as future preferences for diversity-related training and resources that serve Tennessee's diverse residents. Results indicate that higher population municipal areas with greater numbers of staff are more likely to provide diversity training initiatives and resources. Service delivery indicators are primarily reactive and public relations focused, but more research is needed to better understand additional forms of service delivery currently provided to diverse groups. Preferred future diversity training categories are consistent with aging and disabled projected population changes, but inconsistent with other demographic changes in the state. Due to confidentiality concerns, specific municipal information was not collected. Also, the survey sample had issues of non-independence from multiple respondents within the same municipality submitting contradictory responses. In addition, some survey respondents in this research may be unaware of various diversity-related resources available in the municipality. While the research population included 2,027 Tennessee municipal government employees and administrators, due to the sensitive nature of the research topic, 138 dropped out of the survey. Although the research would be enhanced with an increased number of valid responses, nonetheless, the researcher considers the 19% response rate valid (N=388). The generalizability of this study is also limited by the population, as it is focused solely on municipal governments in the state of Tennessee.

Subject Area

Public administration|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Candace Jon Warner, "Preparing Tennessee Municipalities to Equitably Serve Changing Communities" (2016). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10119093.