Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Public Service


Public Administration and Policy

Committee Director

Juita-Elena Yusuf

Committee Member

Tancy Vandecar-Burdin

Committee Member

Robert Kenter


To address the call for improving the understanding of collaboration in public policy, this dissertation is designed to validate a study by Morris, Gibson, Leavitt, and Jones (2013), entitled, The Case for Grassroots Collaboration: Social Capital and Ecosystem Restoration at the Local Level. The Enhanced Model of Collaboration (EMC), which was developed to explore collaboration and social capital deriving from grassroots efforts, will be applied to examine agency-based regional collaboration in southeastern Virginia.

The population for this study is the members of the Hampton Roads All Hazards Advisory Committee (AHAC). Members include representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies, military, private industry, nonprofit organizations, health institutions, and universities.

The AHAC collaboration presents an opportunity to examine the extent to which the EMC can be used to explain collaboration in an agency-based collaboration. Using both collaboration and social capital theories, this concurrent mixed methods case study investigates the constructs in the EMC, which includes context, process, output, outcomes, and social capital in a regional emergency management committee (REMC). The data is collected through interviews, documentation analysis, and a web survey. The survey and interview questions are modified from the original study to accommodate the distinct context of the Hampton Roads AHAC setting.

Findings from this study contribute to a general understanding of agency-based collaboration and social capital at the local government level. As a replication study, this research also serves to validate propositions of the original study as well as strengthen and clarify research findings in relation to collaboration and social capital. The results of this study provide evidence that the Enhanced Model of Collaboration framework is limited in its capacity to research collaboration and social capital constructs in an agency-based setting. Therefore, the Enhanced Model of Agency-Based Collaboration (EMAC) is proposed to accurately examine, research, and evaluate agency-based collaboration settings.

The All Hazards Advisory Committee members are practicing collaborative governance, decision making, and utilizing collaboration as a means to achieve regional emergency management funding and planning goals. Social capital is found to be a central tenet of AHAC’s collaboration and is evident in the formation, process, outcome, and feedback loop. Increased knowledge in this area may lead to institutional and organizational processes that allow multisector agency-based collaborations to increase sustainability and capabilities over time.


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