, Volume 44, Issue 3-4, pp 196-212
Date: 10 Nov 2009

Profiling Capacity for Coordination and Systems Change: The Relative Contribution of Stakeholder Relationships in Interorganizational Collaboratives

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Abstract

In response to increasing demands for greater coordination and collaboration among community institutions, interorganizational collaboratives (i.e., coalitions, partnerships, coordinating councils) have emerged as a popular mechanism for strengthening the capacity of a community system to respond to public and social issues. This study adopts a network approach to explore the relative importance of dense networks of cooperative relationships among members of interorganizational collaboratives for two outcomes of effectiveness: improving interorganizational coordination and fostering systems change. Based on survey and social network data collected from 48 different collaboratives, findings indicate that, relative to other key characteristics of collaboratives identified in previous literature, cooperative stakeholder relationships were the strongest predictor of systems change outcomes. However, for coordination outcomes, stakeholder relationships were overshadowed in importance by the leadership and decision making capacity of the collaborative. Collectively, findings suggest key differences in the requisite capacity profiles for coordination and systems change outcomes.