Document Type : Original Article
Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University
Design/Methodology/Approach- This is an applied research in which a descriptive-analytical method has been adopted for data collection and analysis. The study data was obtained through documentary analysis and field studies. The statistical population of this study includes 63 villages in the central district of Rasht County. All Dehyars and members of the Islamic Council of these villages (n=284) were interviewed and filled out the questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using statistical methods (t-test and weighted mean). The social challenges facing local managers with 18 items and cultural challenges with 8 items were subjected to analysis at three levels.
Findings- The results suggested that local managers of villages in the central district of Rasht County confront serious social and cultural challenges in the process of rural development. Poor collaboration of villagers with local village managers in rural development plans and projects with a mean of 4.42, reverse migration and social problems caused by the construction of second houses with a mean of 4.41 and migration of youths from villages to the city and non-participation in Council elections with a mean of 4.40 were the major social and ethnic challenges. Also, tribal differences in the villages with a mean of 4.35, lack of solidarity between local managers and people in tackling rural problems with a mean of 4.34 and poor work culture with a mean of 4.13 were also the most important cultural challenges facing local managers in the villages at the central district of Rasht County.
Research Limitations/Implications- The disagreements between local managers, reluctance to provide information on research topic and the difficulty of reaching managers in the villages were the main limitations of the present study. Appointing a member of the village management body as a spokesperson and setting the criterion of permanent residence in the village as a precondition for the nomination of the executive director were among executive strategies offered in the present study.
Practical Implications- Changing the management style from person-centered to participatory management in the administration of rural affairs, monitoring the inflow of non-indigenous people into the village in order to safeguard its social and cultural structure, building a suitable infrastructure to keep young and active forces in rural areas and encouraging them to study in the fields pertained to planning and rural development, participating in the decision-making structure of local management, fostering interaction between local managers and villagers through a management system based on law obedience and transparency and ultimately stimulating villagers to engage in teamwork and its effective results in the process of achieving comprehensive rural development.
Originality/value- Recognizing the main challenges facing local managers in a district of Guilan province can play a prominent role in improving their efficiency in the process of achieving rural development. The results of this research can be useful for district and county managers.