The Drivers of Collaborative Success Between Rural Economic Development Organizations

Brandon Ofem, Bindu Arya, Stephen P. Borgatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The nonprofit literature has directed attention to exploring how features of the broader structure of exchanges within regional collaboration networks impact the dynamics and outcomes of a single partnership. This study examines how partners’ relative positions within a collaboration network impact their interdependence and collaborative success. Our analysis of 298 collaborations between 98 economic development organizations operating in an economically distressed rural region demonstrates that social network properties—structural embeddedness and relative centrality—have substantial effects on exchange partners’ collaborative success. We also investigate whether network effects are mediated by the two dimensions of interdependence, mutual dependence and power imbalance. Together, our theorizing and results speak to the driving factors of collaborative success in a context where collaboration is particularly vital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1134
Number of pages22
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Innovation and Organization Sciences Program of the National Science Foundation for supporting this research. We also thank Walter Ferrier, Evelyn Knight, Jane Jensen, Patty Cook, Seungahn Nah, Sara Compion, and Stephanie Barker for their work on the larger project on which this study is based.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study is based on data collected from a project funded by the National Science Foundation (SES 1063773).

Funding Information:
Funding overlap. We measured funding overlap dichotomously. If two organizations received funding from the ARC we coded the variable as 1 and 0 otherwise. We focus on this funding source since the ARC is a primary source of funding for organizations engaged in development efforts in the region (ARC, 2014).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • collaboration
  • economic development
  • resource dependence
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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