Networks for Social Impact

Michelle Shumate, Katherine R. Cooper

Research output: Book/ReportBook

2 Scopus citations


Networks for Social Impact is a broad review of how nonprofits, businesses, and governments work together to tackle social problems. The book takes a systems approach to explain how networks make a social impact, and when they are unlikely to do so. It argues that network design and management is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, the type of social issue, the mechanism for social impact, environment, and resources available each determine appropriate choices. Drawing on research from public administration, psychology, business, network science, social work, and communication, it synthesizes what we know about how to best design and manage networks. It includes illustrations from 30 original case studies; they describe groups of organizations addressing issues such as gender-based violence, educational outcomes, senior care, veterans' services, mental health and wellness, and climate change. Additionally, the volume describes critical issues that leaders address in creating and managing networks, including social issue analysis, network governance, securing and managing funding, dealing with power and conflict, using data effectively, and managing change. Each chapter includes tools for network leaders to use to handle these issues. This book is neither a Pollyannaish, pro-collaboration account of the benefits of network approaches, nor is it a critical view of these efforts. Instead, it highlights the opportunities and challenges of networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages266
ISBN (Electronic)9780190091996
ISBN (Print)9780190092009
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • coalition
  • collaboration
  • collaborative leadership
  • cross-sector social interaction
  • network
  • network management
  • social impact
  • system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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