Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


Regional Councils are voluntary associations of city and county governments. Their functions are to provide forums and means to assist local governments regarding problems of mutual concern. As part of the NC-144 research project to analyze the effects of regional councils of governments on local governments this study attempts to answer the question: “Do the five states differ in the effectiveness of their regional councils and which selected organizational variables are associated with these differences?” The objectives of the study are to describe the origin, development, organizational structure and activities of the regional councils in the states of Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; and, to determine which selected organizational factors are associated with the effectiveness of regional councils. To organize regional councils, states were divided into substate regions. Iowa has the largest number with sixteen, while South Dakota has the smallest number (six), with Colorado having thirteen, Nebraska thirteen, and North Dakota eight. Faced with differing problems and motivated by differing objectives, regional councils developed in difference ways among the five states involved. Not only are their territories and populations varied but there are also differences in the governmental structures with which they must deal, with the social characteristics of their constituencies, and with the range of problems faced. The five states differ in the effectiveness of their regional councils and the ten selected organizational variables are found to be associated with these differences. In this study, the three most important factors contributing to the selected organizational effectiveness scores are: (1) The degree of involvement of member units in regional councils; (2) The degree of support from various organizations that are directly involved in the existing regional councils; and (3) the number of linkages with other governmental organizations and agencies. Further investigations, however, are needed to determine the organizational effectiveness or regional councils.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Regional planning -- West (U.S.)

Local government -- West (U.S.)

Comparative organization

Regional planning -- South Dakota

Local government -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University