College of Communication > Academics > Research & Lectures > Publications > Networks for Social Impact

Networks for Social Impact (2022)

​By Michelle Shumate and Katherine R. Cooper
Oxford University Press
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook. 280pp.

Cooper: Networks for Social Impact
​A broad review of how nonprofits, businesses, and governments work together to tackle social problems.

Networks for Social Impact takes a systems approach to explain how and when networks make a social impact. Michelle Shumate and Katherine R. Cooper argue that network design and management is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Instead, they show that the type of social issue, the mechanism for social impact, environment, and resources available each determine appropriate choices.

Drawing on research from public administration, psychology, business, network science, social work, and communication, this book synthesizes what we know about how to best design and manage networks. It includes illustrations from thirty original case studies which describe groups of organizations addressing issues such as gender-based violence, educational outcomes, senior care, veterans' services, mental health and wellness, and climate change.

Additionally, the volume examines critical issues that leaders address in creating and managing networks, including social issue analysis, network governance, securing and managing funding, dealing with power and conflict, using data effectively, and managing change. Each chapter includes tools for network leaders to use to handle these issues. This book is neither an overly idealistic, pro-collaboration account of the benefits of network approaches, nor is it a critical view of these efforts. Instead, this clear and concise volume highlights the opportunities and challenges of networks.