Evolving communities: tracing the evolution of community coalitions into functioning communities of practice

Bridger, Dawson
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University of Guelph

Community coalition theory is a prevalent model for community organization, but this relatively new area of inquiry is in need of refinement. While the structural elements of collaborative capacity development are addressed in community coalition theory, little attention has been devoted to strengthening the social aspects of these coalitions. Integrating communities of practice theory will strengthen the collaborative capacities of community coalitions. An instrumental case study examined the interplay of the two theories by looking at two coalitions that have evolved into communities of practice. Through a literature review and primary research, the study identified eight themes affecting coalition operation: Member/coalition 'Motivation/History ', management of coalition 'Resources', creating ' Defined Goals', management of 'Member Abilities', engaging in community 'Advocacy', promoting 'Ownership' of the coalition, building 'Leadership Abilities', and pursuing ' Relationships/Dialogue' between coalition members and outside partners. This model of coalition operation is presented in the 'Integrated Communities' conceptual framework.

Community coalitions, Collaborative capacities, Integrated communities, Social aspects, Coalition operation