Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Shabnam Koirala- Azad

Third Advisor

Betty Taylor


This qualitative study documents the formation and interactions of an inter-organizational collaborative group, Oakland's Promise Alliance, to determine if there were environmental and community factors that contributed to the success of the collaborative. The research examines how various participatory activities and group interactions used during the relationship-building phase of the groups' development helped strengthen the group over time. Lastly this study identifies the specific, preexisting characteristics of the Oakland community that affect the propensity for change.

Employing the participatory action research method, 9 of the 13 members of the executive committee voluntarily participated in qualitative interviews and group dialogue to extract their sentiments toward the practice of collaboration in general and in Oakland specifically. I used the social capital theory as the theoretical rationale to examine the experiences the co-researchers have as members of Oakland's Promise Alliance and the external factors that influence the work.

A summary of findings included the development of 4 generative themes: (a) Commitment, (b) Cohesion, (c) Change, and (d) Communication. The research reveals that all members were highly motivated to participate. Yet, contrary to previous studies on the leadership within the collaborative practice, co-reseachers, who were executive committee members of an Oakland, California based nonprofit organization expressed the desire to have formalized leadership structure.

Co-researchers also found that the key to Oakland's Promise Alliance's success lies within its opportunities to improve communication and engage in informal interactions. The retreat, held in Hershey, PA was an example of such. Recommendations for further research, as well as recommendations for inter-organizational collaboration are provided.