Lawlor, Jennifer, Zachary Neal, and Kyle Metta. 2022. "When Community Change Theory Meets Practice: Exploring Some of the Challenges to Information Sharing Networks for Community Change." PsyArXiv. January 6. doi:10.1037/tps0000318.
Networked community change (NCC) efforts focus on building and supporting networks of stakeholders in communities to address complex problems, with a particular focus on tie formation among stakeholders and organizer facilitation of an information-sharing network (Lawlor & Neal, 2016). NCC approaches include, for example, systemic action research (Burns, 2007), Collective Impact (Kania & Kramer, 2011), and network action research (Foth, 2006) and can be understood as community-level interventions supporting change (Bess, 2015). Previous research demonstrates the promising nature of NCC efforts under ideal circumstances for efficient information sharing in community change efforts. However, these efforts frequently operate in non-ideal conditions, needing to adapt to a variety of community challenges. This article extends the agent-based simulation model presented in Lawlor and Neal (2016) to reflect the challenges that arise when stakeholders implement these approaches to community change and identify how they can impact information-sharing networks. First, we review literature to establish common challenges that arise in these efforts. Second, we employ the Lawlor and Neal (2016) model to examine these challenges and report on the resulting structure of the information-sharing networks that emerge from implementing them in the simulation model. We conclude with implications of common networked community change challenges on network formation and future directions for addressing these real-world challenges as communities work on complex problems.