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Knowledge Brief: Harnessing the Capacity for Change

Published Dec 1, 2011, Models for Change Research Initiative

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Organizational change requires more than good ideas. Organizations must also have thecapacity and resources necessary to reach the desired goals. In this project, the researchers interviewed and surveyed organizations involved in Models for Change to assess their capacity to implement and sustain change. They sought to understand what resources contribute to having capacity, how capacity is used, and the ways in which different dimensions of capacity work together. From the study they identified five major dimension sof capacity—finances, human resources, technology, stakeholder commitment, and collaboration—and developed a model of how these dimensions interact, build on oneanother, and ultimately contribute to change. The more concrete capacities such as finances, human resources, and technology, the researchers found, can predict an organization’s ability to collaborate with others to effect change.

This brief is one in a series describing new knowledge and innovations emerging from Models for Change, a multi-state juvenile justice initiative. Models for Change is accelerating movement toward a more effective, fair, and developmentally sound juvenile justice system by creating replicable models that protect community safety, use resources wisely, and improve outcomes for youths. The briefs are intended to inform professionals in juvenile justice and related fields, and to contribute to a new national wave of juvenile justice reform.


Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.