Iron sharpens iron : member experiences of collaboration in the Texas Hunger Initiative.


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Although the number of food planning councils (FPCs) has grown rapidly in the last twenty years, there is a paucity of research about these groups – especially about organizational theories relevant to their structures and elements that make them effective. Furthermore, the research that is available comes from few authors and even fewer FPCs. This dissertation explores the experiences of member organizations with collaboration within the Texas Hunger Initiative’s (THI’s) Hunger Free Community Coalitions (HFCCs). Chapter One provides an overview of the dissertation and grounds the work in Talcott Parsons’s theories. Chapter Two builds on Jones’s (2006) work exploring member characteristics in relationship to resource dependence and social network theories. Organizations reported a mean of 12 collaborative partners and being impacted by those collaborations from early in their relationship. Chapter Three utilizes Thomson, Perry, and Miller’s (2009) instrument to examine members’ experiences with collaboration. Respondents rated all five domains of collaboration favorably and asserted it was more worthwhile to stay in the collaboration than to leave. Chapter Four reports on a phenomenological study of member experiences of collaboration in THI’s HFCCs. Analysis of the interview data illuminated six major themes: collaboration is difficult, valuable, expands and improves services, requires intentionality, requires diversity united towards a common goal, and lessons learned from HFCC participants. Chapter Five contains a recap of the studies, provides important linkages between them, and includes implications and recommendations for social work research as well as social work practice and education.



Food policy council. Food security. Hunger Free Community Coalition. Interorganizational collaboration. Multisector collaboration. Phenomenology. Resource dependence theory. Social network theory. Texas Hunger Initiative.