Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Anthony B. Leisner
The relevant literature consistently suggests that understanding citizen participation in community action programs is needed to maximize network governance efforts. Yet, there is no empirical evidence demonstrating a relationship between levels of network governance (NG) and citizen participation rates. The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which levels of NG is correlated with levels of citizen participation in community action agency (CAA) programs, and whether variations in NG or variations over time in average income level is more strongly related to participation. The research was guided by the integrative model of democracy, which emphasizes citizen participation and is seen in Moynihan's theory of self-governance through community action agencies. The study utilized a secondary analysis of data retrieved from on state's Department of Development website. Participation rates of 10 state CAA programs were drawn from these public records and correlated with number of collaborative NG partnerships and mean state income levels over a 5-year period (2004-2008). Pearson's r tests indicated that number of network partnerships was positively correlated with participation in 8 out of 10 CAA programs including workforce development, education, housing, transportation, medical and food assistance, financial management, and maximum feasible participation programs. Participation in medical and food assistance programs was not related to partnerships. Additionally, variations in average income level were not correlated with program participation. The findings can contribute to positive social change by informing new NG practices to maximize collaborative community efforts to increase community participation, thereby possibly increasing self-sufficiency and reducing poverty.