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Coalitions

Chapter 12

A Coalition Story

John C. Fremont High School


Los Angeles, CA

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

WHAT IS A COALITION?
o Interacting groups of individuals
o Deliberately constructed and issue oriented
o Exist independent of formal structure
o Lack formal structure
o Focus goals external to the coalition
o Require collective action to achieve goals
o Members are trying to achieve outcomes that satisfy the
interests of the coalition
Chapter 12 - Coalitions

TYPES OF COALITIONS
Potential Coalition

Operating Coalition

An emergent interest
group that has the
potential to become a
coalition by taking
collective action but has
not yet done so.
Latent coalition:
emergent interest
group that has not yet
formed
Dormant coalition:
interest group that
previous formed but is
currently inactive

One that is currently


operating, active, and in
place.
Established coalition:
Relatively stable, active,
and ongoing across an
indefinite time and
space
Temporary coalition:
operates for a short
time; focused on a
single issue or problem

Recurring Coalitions
May have started as
temporary, but then
determined that the
issue or problem does
not remain resolved
Members need to
remobilize themselves
every time the
presenting issue
requires collective
attention

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

HOW AND WHY COALITIONS FORM AND DEVELOP


When coalitions form:
Parties come together to pool efforts and resources in
pursuit of common or overlapping goals
Control over resources becomes the basis for two
critical pieces of the coalition formation process:
a) What each member brings to the coalition
b) What each member should receive if the coalition
forms
Coalitions form to preserve or increase resources
Coalitions form in order to avoid a poor outcome that
will occur if individuals acts alone (a social dilemma)
Chapter 12 - Coalitions

HOW AND WHY COALITIONS FORM AND DEVELOP


How coalitions develop:
Coalitions start with a founder
a) Successful founders have extensive networks
b) Founders benefits from early coalitions are likely
to be small
Coalitions build by adding one member at a time
a) The founder finds an ally;
b) The founder can benefit if he or she understands
the others interests
Chapter 12 - Coalitions

HOW AND WHY COALITIONS FORM AND DEVELOP


How coalitions develop:
Coalitions need to achieve critical mass
a) Find their joining threshold
1) A minimum number of people get on board
2) Others join because friends and associates are
members
Coalitions exclude weaker members who cant
contribute

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

HOW AND WHY COALITIONS FORM AND DEVELOP


How coalitions develop:

Linking new memberstiesbecome critical:


a) Strong ties: a new member who can bring a lot to the
coalition, but demands a lot in return;
b) Weak ties: a new member who only brings a small
amount to the tableenough to leverage the coalition
to a winbut will not demand as much in return.
Hence, weak ties can create strength for coalition
founders:
a) Founders who have a large, diverse network of weak
ties are often in a better situation to form a coalition
than those who have a small, tightly organized network
of strong ties
Chapter 12 - Coalitions

HOW AND WHY COALITIONS FORM AND DEVELOP


How coalitions develop:
Many successful coalitions form quietly and disband
quickly
a) Revenge of the vanquished: pits coalitions against
each other so that each ones sole objective is to
keep the other side from succeeding
b) Turmoil within: public acknowledgment of the
coalition could damage future coalition activity
c) Desire for anonymity: the more publicly identified
members become with the coalition, the more
others may see their future actions as motivated by
coalition membership and not by their own interests.

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

STANDARDS FOR COALITION DECISION MAKING


Coalition decision rules: Three criteria to determine who receives
what from the results of the coalitions efforts
1. Equity standard: Anyone who contributed more should receive
more (in proportion to the contribution made)
2. Equality standard: Everyone should receive the same
3. Need standard: Parties should receive more in proportion to
some demonstrated need for a larger share of the outcome

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

POWER AND LEVERAGE IN COALITIONS


How is power related to coalition formation?
A. Strategic power: Emerges from the availability of alternative
coalition partners
B. Normative power: Derives from what parties consider to be a fair
or just distribution of the outcomes
C. Relationship-based power: Shaped by the compatibility of
preferences between parties

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

PROSPECTIVE COALITION MEMBER ROLES

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

PROSPECTIVE COALITION MEMBER ROLES


Allies

Opponents

Bedfellows

Fence Sitters

Adversaries

Parties who are


in agreement
with a
negotiators
goals and vision,
and whom the
negotiator trusts

People with
whom a
negotiator has
conflicting goals
and objectives,
but who can be
trusted to be
principled and
candid in their
opposition

Parties with
whom a
negotiator has
high agreement
on the vision or
objectives, but
low to moderate
levels of trust

Parties who will


not take a stand
one way or the
other
Fear taking a
position because
it could lock
them in, be
politically
dangerous, or
expose them to
risk

Adversaries are
low in
agreement and
cannot be
trusted.

Chapter 12 - Coalitions

ACTION STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS


Allies

Opponents

Bedfellows

Fence Sitters

Adversaries

Affirm agreement on
collective vision or
objective
Reaffirm quality of the
relationship
Acknowledge doubt
and vulnerability with
respect to achieving
vision and collective
goal
Ask for advice and
support

Reaffirm relationship
based in trust
State vision or
position in a neutral
manner
Engage in problem
solving

Reaffirm the
agreement;
acknowledge caution
exists
Be clear about
expectations in terms
of support
Ask what they want
from you
Reach agreement on
how to work together

State your position;


find out where they
stand
Apply gentle
pressures
Focus on issue; have
them tell you what it
would take to gain
their support

State your vision or


goals
State your
understanding of your
adversarys position in
a neutral way
Identify your own
contributions to the
poor relationship
End the meeting by
restating your plan
but without making
demands

Chapter 12 - Coalitions