Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Ginette Lafrenière

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The current study was designed to examine the experiences of organizations assisting individuals who are economically vulnerable in Waterloo Region through interorganizational collaboration. Several questions were explored in order to gain a deeper understanding of the definition of collaboration, for whom collaboration is useful, how often and with whom organizations collaborate, techniques used during collaboration, and whether collaboration should be increased and improved. Twenty Executive Directors from organizations most strongly involved in the assistance of those experiencing poverty were asked to participate in face-to-face interviews where they were asked questions based on the above mentioned questions. Qualitative analysis of the interviews demonstrated that all participants had experience with inter-organizational collaboration and overall, collaboration was believed to be an important way to resolve complex social issues like poverty. All participants offered information regarding collaboration that was placed into five main themes: definition, capacity to address social issues, quantity of collaboration, reasons and recommendations for, and challenges of aggrandized collaboration, the process, and relationship building. It was found that participants fell into one of three categories in terms of their overall feeling about collaboration: enthusiastic collaborators are those who seek, promote and use collaboration often; ambivalent collaborators are those who frequently collaborate and like collaboration, but would also be willing to address poverty without engaging in collaborative efforts; resistant collaborators are those who will use collaboration if necessary but do not actively seek to collaborate and encourage other ways to address social issues. Regardless of feelings toward collaboration, overall, it was felt to be a useful way to help address societal challenges such as poverty.

Convocation Year


Included in

Social Work Commons