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Am J Community Psychol. 2012 Jun;49(3-4):317-31. doi: 10.1007/s10464-011-9460-z.

"Changing the text": modeling council capacity to produce institutionalized change.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 61820, USA.


Collaboration is a ubiquitous approach to change, but is notoriously difficult and not definitively linked to desirable outcomes. Not surprisingly, the collaboration literature is replete with numerous facilitators and barriers to collaborative efforts. The current study aimed to develop a parsimonious model of factors influencing the success of collaborative efforts both internal and external to the council, including, (a) features of the council environment, (b) intermediate outcomes including the empowerment of members in the council context and the degree to which councils have generated social capital and (c) the extent to which collaborative efforts are occurring in a community context supportive of their aims. In particular, this study examines whether these factors affect the extent to which councils are positioned to achieve institutionalized change, or changes "in the text" that govern front line providers' (e.g., police, advocates) practices in the community response to intimate partner violence. Results suggest that perceived member empowerment, generation of social capital, and supportive community context are the most important predictors of the extent to which councils foster shifts in institutionalized change. Features of the council environment are only indirectly related to the degree to which institutionalized change is ultimately fostered as mediated by the generation of social capital. This suggests that the ability of members to act as change agents and the extent to which those in power support council efforts figure more prominently to facilitate or constrain council efforts than council functioning itself.

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