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Tracing the Evolution of Pluralism in Community-Based Coalitions

Wells, Rebecca; Ford, Eric W.; Holt, Michelle L.; McClure, Jennifer A.; Ward, Ann

HCMR Award Winner

Abstract: In this study, a crisis of leadership succession led to greater subsequent pluralism by the previously less inclusive coalition. Substantial tension existed between both coalitions and the federally funded Appalachia Cancer Network, especially around its evidence-based mission. The fact that this tension occurred even at the more locally inclusive site indicates that pluralism may vary across levels within the same coalition. This article contributes to theory by exploring how coalitions evolve over time across community boundaries, as well as to management practice by yielding guidance about how to build inclusive organizations.

Rebecca Wells, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. E-mail:

Eric W. Ford, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Health Systems Management, at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Michelle L. Holt, MS, is Compliance and Risk Manager at Centre Medical & Surgical Associates P.C., State College, Pennsylvania.

Jennifer A. McClure, MS, is Data Analyst at Health Data Management Solutions, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.

Ann Ward, MA, is Regional Director Co-Principal Investigator at The Appalachia Cancer Network, Penn State University Park.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.