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Collaboration Among Human Service Nonprofit Organizations: Mapping Formal and Informal Networks of Exchange

Park, Chisung (2006) Collaboration Among Human Service Nonprofit Organizations: Mapping Formal and Informal Networks of Exchange. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Much of the current debates in the social service delivery have focused on the blurring boundaries between three sectors - the nonprofit, business and public sector. Surprisingly no empirical research has been given to this phenomenon from macro and comparative perspectives. First contribution of the study to is the conceptual and methodological model to link organization and strategic management theory with network theory. The study calls this new framework as collaboration network. Second, this survey of 33 nonprofit organizations in the Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania uncovers the hidden patterns of collaboration between the sectors including empirical evidence of blurring boundaries. In order to reveal the hidden patterns of collaboration, the study adopts blockmodel from network analysis that is useful to reduce complex networks into concise and easily understandable forms. Major findings uncovered by network analysis are; 1) Network structures are different according to specific types of collaboration relationships. Network structures become less dense as the collaborative relationships intensify. While nonprofits do not have to spend much of their valuable resources such as time and money on maintaining informal or infrequent information sharing or work referral relations, nonprofits should commit themselves to maintaining intensive relations such as formal contract or joint program. In addition, the types of six network structures are different from each other. For example, while formal contract network is shaped as a cohesive subgroup structure, resource sharing network shows a central-periphery system. 2) When three sector organizations are participated in the work referral network, the social service system emerges. Three sectors play a unique role respectively - a sender for public agencies, a service provider for businesses. As a major actor in the social service field, nonprofits not only play these two roles, but also play a coordinating or broker role between three sectors. 3) When either of the business or public sector is introduced in the collaboration network, new network structures replace the network structure which is composed exclusively of nonprofits. For example, when the public sector is involved in the formal contract network, the network structure changes from a cohesive subgroup system to a hierarchy system.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKearns, Kevin Kkkearns@gspia.pitt.eduKKEARNS
Date: 28 April 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 April 2006
Approval Date: 28 April 2006
Submission Date: 11 April 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: blockmodel; blurring boundaries between the nonprofit; business and public sectors; collaboration network; collaboration patterns; human service nonprofit organizations
Other ID:, etd-04112006-155650
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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