Over the River and Through the Woods:  Examining the Relationship between Network Structure, Collaboration and Geography

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Virginia Tech


This dissertation analyzes the relationship between network structure, collaboration, and geography among food security organizations in the New River Valley of Virginia. As a way to better understand how purpose-oriented, service-delivery networks, this case study of the Thrive network examines the relationship between geography and collaboration. The food security organizations within the region were mapped to determine the structure of the network and data was compared to the geography of the region. The findings suggest that food security organizations do find geography as a barrier to collaboration in three ways. First, these organizations see geography as a cost to collaboration due to the increased need for logistics and resources. Second, geography creates interorganizational political and cultural boundaries. Third, many food security organizations view geography as a barrier to collaboration in terms of its relationship between the organization and its clients. Organizations that saw value in collaboration between organizations within the network found ways to overcome the barriers of geography.



purpose-oriented networks, geography, service-delivery networks, Collaboration