First Advisor

Sy Adler

Term of Graduation

Spring 2007

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Community development -- Pacific Northwest, Social change -- Pacific Northwest, Food relief -- Pacific Northwest



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 413 pages)


Multi-Stakeholder Collaborative Learning and Action (MCLA) is defined as a type of multi-stakeholder process that convenes diverse system members for the purpose of increasing individual and system knowledge and facilitating individual and collaborative activity supportive of movement toward a shared vision or goal. Despite increased theoretical and practitioner attention to the topic, questions remain regarding what reasonably to expect from MCLA processes and how best to design them. Further, little research has addressed the assertion that certain MCLA processes can facilitate domain development. Addressing these questions, this case study applies quantitative and qualitative methods to the analysis of two components of a MCLA process: a large group intervention and an interorganizational collaborative alliance.

A range of direct and indirect, tangible and intangible effects was identified at individual and domain levels. Examples include increased understanding about domain issues and partners, new and enhanced relationships, knowledge transfer and creation, belief and value clarification, behavior and programmatic change, improved collaborative capacity, and sense of inspiration or connection.

This research confirms the effectiveness of whole systems, participatory, and dialogic design principles, as well as the importance of attending to diverse learning styles and establishing a positive tone. Research questioning the reasonableness of expectations for self-organization regarding both action agendas and collaborative alliances is affirmed.

With respect to domain development, this research confirms that large group interventions can facilitate problem setting, direction setting, and/or structuring. Further, they can foster the system appreciation, networks, and shared vision identified as important to domain development. The importance of referent or bridging organizations is validated, though difficulty structuring such alliances is also confirmed.

MCLA processes are identified as valuable to community and movement development and adaptive governance. A positive but qualified assessment is provided regarding expectations for the potential of MCLA processes to support social change and sustainability. This research advances understanding of likely effects and key design considerations regarding MCLA, however, questions remain pertaining to stakeholder participation, dominant discourses, engagement practices, the role of referent organizations, effect measurement, comparability and appropriate use of various processes, and support of sustainability and social change.


© 2007 Janet Michelle Hammer

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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Urban Studies Commons