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Title:Situated Evaluation of an Interorganizational Collaboration
Author(s):Kok, Adrian John
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mary Eamon
Department / Program:Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Social Work
Abstract:The existence of an organizational divide pervades among nonprofits and community organizations, where access to computers, Internet use, and opportunities for professional development in information literacy are limited. The issue of providing ongoing support, cost effective training, and maximizing learning opportunities in interdisciplinary collaborations to enhance service providers' information literacy is a priority in professional development. Using legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and the existing research on collaboration as conceptual frameworks (Rosenthal & Mizrahi, 1996), this study examined the processes that led to the establishment of the HelpSource Consortium and website ( and the consolidation of the different online directories in East Central Illinois. The specific research questions were (1) Why did the agencies participate in the collaboration? (2) What sustained the collaboration? What were the success and failure factors of the collaboration? and (3) What and how did participants learn? Knowledge exchanges and unique outcomes among the consortium's participants were documented using situated evaluation and participant observation approaches. The key findings of this exploratory, qualitative study revealed that political expediency by way of a compendium approach in developing the HelpSource website and the involvement of stakeholders in decision making were crucial in addressing turf issues and members' concerns. Sponsorship involvement, the availability of technical expertise, and the unique mix of professionals from the libraries, information and referral agencies, and the human services facilitated the collaboration. Members continued their involvement because of vested organizational interests and anticipated professional benefits, such as enhanced information literacy and increased knowledge of community resources. Members' information management knowledge and literacy were enhanced by a variety of mechanisms, which varied according to the degree of tutelage. The findings acknowledge the importance of both incidental and didactic approaches in learning among consortium members. The practice and policy implications of enhancing information literacy in community technology groups and interdisciplinary collaborations are addressed. In particular, incorporating multiple perspectives to information provision, which include political, social, economic, as well as technical aspects, appear to be critical in ensuring the success of web-based collaborations that are centered on meeting the community's information needs.
Issue Date:2003
Description:223 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3111561
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2003

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