Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Leadership and Human Resource Development

Document Type



Federal funding agencies that administer financial support in the form of program grants to non-profit organizations (NPOs) that provide child and family services increasingly require NPOs to formalize inter-organizational partnerships in order to receive this vital source of funding. That is, by mandate NPOs must participate in inter-organizational collaboration networks to receive these essential federal funds. Therefore, there is a need to understand the collaboration behavior of NPOs in a policy-mandated environment. This study considers collaboration behavior as information sharing and advice-seeking between the organizations who are part of a collaboration network as a result of a policy mandate.

Drawing on collaboration theory, social capital theory, and social network theory, this study examines the evolution of a collaboration network by assessing how NPOs in a policy-mandated context chose to engage in information-sharing behaviors and how these behaviors changed over time as NPOs developed a working history together. This research examined the production and distribution of social capital as the primary mechanism for motivating collaboration (i.e., information exchange) as the network evolved. Using Louisiana’s Project Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health (LAUNCH) as a case study, this study analyzed five years of self-reported organization-level data on collaboration behaviors and information exchanged among NPOs within the LAUNCH network.

A social network approach was used to analyze the evolution of collaboration practices and found that existing ties play a pivotal role in facilitating information exchange behaviors among the NPOs in the study. That is, organizations are more likely to create information-sharing partnerships with other organizations that have been endorsed and vouched for by an existing partner, or they share information with organizations that have already shared information with them in the past. This showed a tendency towards bonding social capital wherein organizations are provided security against the high levels of risk within a policy-mandated collaboration by the convenience and accessibility offered by maintaining existing relationships. Results of this study were consistent throughout the different model specifications employed in the analysis, and reveal key implications for organizations engaged in policy-mandated partnerships, as well as for funders who require collaboration.


Collaboration, Partnerships, Collaboration Network, Collaboration Theory, Social Capital Theory, Social Network Theory, Social Network Analysis



Committee Chair

Rizzuto, Tracey