CSSL research advances knowledge of social impact in the service of social action and social change.
CSSL prioritizes participatory action research, an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. Participatory action research emphasizes collective inquiry and experimentation grounded in experience and social history (Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (2008) (eds) The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice). Participatory action practitioners make a concerted effort to integrate three basic aspects of their work: participation (life in society and democracy), action (engagement with experience and history), and research (soundness in thought and the growth of knowledge; Chevalier, J.M. and Buckles, D.J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry).
Researchers, practitioners and beneficiaries all play an active role. Researchers engage with practitioners and beneficiaries in defining research goals, designs and methods. Practitioners help frame research goals, data collection methods, interpretation of findings and dissemination of results. Beneficiaries help to conceptualize the research, research design, data collection and dissemination.
Recent CSSL Research
Fostering Effective Innovation in Philanthropy: Bold Approaches to Shape Strategy and Culture
This paper has been produced to highlight key areas where foundation grantmaking can use different approaches to innovation that we believe will generate more social impact through philanthropy.
The Multisector Career Arc: The Importance of Cross-Sector Affiliations by Nora Silver and Paul Jansen in California Management Review
This article examines the extent to which current leaders from each of the three sectors (public, private, and nonprofit) have had meaningful cross-sector experience either through full-time employment or through service on boards/commissions or other forms of affiliation. Almost half of all leaders profiled had at least one multisector affiliation and about 15% had four or more. It also explores the costs and benefits of such experiences to them and their organization. Almost every leader interviewed described a logical, but serendipitous path that created a unique, unforeseeable, and often very rewarding set of opportunities and experiences. Their profiles also suggest the emergence of a new career path in which leaders garner developmentally rich, career-accelerating experiences, often in parallel, by virtue of part-time cross-sector affiliations in addition to traditional employment.
Leveraging Social Sector Leadership by Laura Callanan, Nora Silver and Paul Jansen in a special publication of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and Berkeley-Haas.
Strong leadership is critical for effective social sector organizations, yet the sector chronically underinvests in its leaders. What do social sector leaders need to help them succeed and, just as importantly, stay in the sector? What can grantmakers do to support these leaders? This publication synthesizes findings from new research conducted by the authors and offers recommendations for grantmakers.
Leveraging social sector leadership: Opportunities for family philanthropy, a blog posted on National Center for Family Philanthropy, Family Giving News by Lori Bartczak and Nora Silver
Four Network Principles for Collaboration Success
by Jane Wei-Skillern, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley and Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Nora Silver, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley published in Foundation Review
This article identifies a set of four counterintuitive principles that are critical to collaboration success and offers insights for how social sector leaders can ensure that their collaborations can have an impact that is dramatically greater than the sum of the individual parts. Based on a decade of research developing detailed case studies on a range of successful networks, the authors have identified a common pattern of factors that are essential to effective networking.