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Developing a collaborative network organization: leadership challenges at multiple levels

Ellen Baker (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Melanie Kan (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Stephen T.T. Teo (Curtin University, Perth, Australia)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine a collaborative non‐profit network which is undergoing organizational change.


The authors present a case study of an employment‐services network in its first year of change, as the network implemented various activities to enhance its performance. A grounded‐theory approach was adopted to study the organizational and collaborative processes within the member‐site and Head‐Office levels.


It was found that member‐site leadership was the critical factor influencing site culture and site performance, and that high‐performing sites were initiating collaborative activities with other sites. Head‐Office leadership also influenced site performance and collaboration, but its initiatives were only moderately successful. The findings also indicate that change efforts should focus on leadership at both the site and network levels, and may need to begin with low‐performing sites.

Practical implications

The paper discusses the implications of leadership on the implementation of collaborative networks in the employment services sector.


The qualitative findings of the study add to, and help to explain, earlier research findings on the questions of how public sector organizations utilize various activities to implement collaborative networks and their impact on managerial practice.



Baker, E., Kan, M. and Teo, S.T.T. (2011), "Developing a collaborative network organization: leadership challenges at multiple levels", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 853-875.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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