Organizational Motivators of a Sustained and Productive Unfunded Cross-Sector Collaboration

Ronald E. Brown, Walden University


Research supports the use of collaborative models of collective action to address social problems. There are, however, gaps in literature about unfunded collaborative approaches and the reasons why organizations participate in those organizational types. The purpose of this study was to examine one such collaborative organization in California. Over seventy cross-sector agencies came together and created an unfunded collaborative organization to improve community health, education, parenting, and the financial stability of the community the collaborative serves. The theories of collective action and motivation grounded this study. Using a phenomenological approach, 8 leaders of collaborative member organizations were interviewed to explore their experiences on what contributed to and sustained their participation despite the lack of formal funding mechanisms. Data were inductively coded and analyzed for patterns and themes. The results revealed that participants were motivated by a sense of strong goal alignment, the existence of individual intrinsic rewards, and shared organizational extrinsic rewards. Additionally, the participants agreed that the collective's unique approach and its welcome and safe environment promoted the objectives of the individual participating agencies. The findings of this study are consistent with collective action and motivation theory. These findings support long-term sustainability of collaborative models, including partnership with government agencies. This sustainability, in turn, supports positive social change through the development and replication of unfunded collaborative models that may address ongoing and emergent community needs.