Governance Issues in Local Public Utilities: The Italian Perspective

  • Andrea Calabrò
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


Through the lens of agency theory, the paper examines the conflicts of interest arising among the actors (citizens, Local governments, private shareholders, service providers, etc.) that, at various levels, are involved in local public utilities governance systems. The main results of a multiple case study analysis on ten Italian listed local public utilities are summarized by identifying different and co-existing situations of conflict of interest among multiple principals and agents. Although governance mechanisms (e.g., the board of directors) have different roles and functions and may prevent and mitigate such conflicts, our findings pointed out that various problematic issues exist. First, the effects of the ownership structure on board composition and functioning needs to be further explored. Second, higher numbers of independent directors do not mean actual board independence. Third, service charters as tools for promoting transparency, accountability and public participation are not well implemented yet. The chapter contributes to the debate on local public utilities governance suggesting possible agency theory developments by focusing on different forms of citizens’ participation (e.g., co-production).


Local Government Corporate Governance Independent Director Ownership Structure Agency Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business StudiesUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly

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