Community Coalition Action Theory (CCAT)

  • CCAT or Community Coalition is a type of IOR used to build consensus and actively engage diverse organizations and constituencies in addressing community issue or problems.
  • CCAT are formal, multi-purpose and often long-term alliances that work locally or regionally and usually have paid time staff.
  • Membership of community coalitions varies in size, organizational partners, media advocacy strategies, diversity of professional and grassroots organizations and individual members.
  • Working relationships and role expectations can change over time and can be formal or otherwise.
  • Coalitions can facilitate ownership, build capacity and competence among member organizations to address a myriad of community issues.
  • CCAT is based on earlier partnership building models that focus on community building, community development and development and structure of collaborative organizational relationships within communities.
  • While they each emphasize important variables, taken as a whole, they provide a complete contextual understanding of interorganizational collaboration in a community health promotion context.
  • CCAT describes the stages of coalition development, coalition functioning, development of coalition synergy, and creation of organizational and community changes that may lead to increased community capacity and improved health and social outcomes.
  • CCAT has fourteen constructs, including coalition structure and processes, staffing and leadership, pooled resources and member engagement.
  • CCAT incorporates Stage Theory as coalitions progress from formation to implementation to maintenance and institutionalization.
  • CCAT hopes to predict several outcomes including: improved organizational structure, function and effectiveness; community changes such as environments, policies and practices conducive to healthy living; increased community capacity and improved social outcomes.
  • CCAT assumes that community contextual factors such as sociopolitical climate, geography, history and norms surrounding collaborative efforts affect each stage of development.
  • CCAT's complex constructs are hard to test empirically.

Difficulties include:

  • Small sample as community or coalition is the unit of analysis
  • Secular trends in health
  • Feasibility of using experimental designs with randomization and control communities in the context of large-scale multi-site collaborations

Recommendations for CCAT

  • Cleary define the major constructs with guidelines for their consistent operationalizations across multiple studies.
  • Move beyond suggestions of variables to measure in evaluations or organization of descriptive evaluation data into meaningful categories to examine the theory in a comprehensive manner.

Future Research on CCAT

  • ealth educators should clearly define the stages that organizations progress through and then select appropriate strategies for each stage.
  • Consensus on the expected duration of each stage and tasks to be achieved would help practitioners build and maintain organizations.
  • Given the unpredictable and cyclical manner with which organizations progress through the stages, more studies on stage progression are needed to help organizations know when to seek training and technical assistance.
  • Clarity is needed on the role that organizations play in adopting programs and the environmental factors that help or hinder their growth or minimize their contribution.
  • Research on range and complexity of interorganizational relationships and clarification on the types of collaborations that best fit the work to be completed is warranted.
  • New ways of framing public health will help guide a "systems approach" to health and health care that transcends the traditional theories, models and frameworks we use.
  • More research on how system theories can move beyond understanding multiple dynamics and allow for prediction of outcomes and control of variables that explain complex data sets with which we now struggle.