the least commitment on the part of participants, and thus the least investment and risk, because organizations retain separate resources and authority. It involves only intermittent exchange of information, common awareness and understanding, and a common base of support (Butterfoss, 2007). More complex forms of networking may incorporate networking tools that allow systematic and sophisticated information exchange. Relationships are generally without clearly defined structure or mission but may involve cooperation on specific tasks. Entities may cooperate for any number of reasons, such as sharing information and avoiding duplication of effort.

Complex goals established for mutual benefit among participants require a greater degree of coordination between individuals or organizations and may result in more formal and longer-term relationships focused on specific tasks. Resources and rewards may be shared, but each organization retains separate resources and authority. The highest level of collaboration may include new structural arrangements and commitment to a common mission among all participants. Such arrangements are sometimes called partnerships or coalitions. Resources may be jointly secured or pooled, and results and rewards are shared. Power may or may not be equally shared, but all members generally have input into collaborative processes. Higher-level relationship such as these will not work unless trust and productivity levels are high.

Building community resilience involves sustained effort at all levels of collaboration. Different individuals, groups, and organizations contribute at different levels at any given time. The level of engagement in collaboration is contingent on willingness both to commit and to risk more in the interest of community resilience on the basis of perceived benefits to participants. As the level of engagement increases, linkages between organizations become more intense and more influenced by common goals, decisions, and rules and by resources participants make available. According to Winer and Ray (1994), collaboration changes the way organizations work together. Organizations move from competing to building consensus; from working alone to including others from diverse cultures, fields, and settings; from thinking mostly about activities, services, and programs to looking for complex, integrated interventions; and from focusing on short-term accomplishments to broad systems changes.


Conceptual models allow the user to visualize system elements and their relationships. In the same way a roadmap represents routes from one location to another, a conceptual model simplifies and abstracts a real-world system, depicts the probable causal relationships between system components, and helps to identify the true relationship between seemingly independent system elements (Sloman, 2005). Conceptual models are encouraged as a starting point for planning, for example, by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

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