Building Capacity: The Case for Values-based Operations


  • Joseph Allen University of Utah
  • Sheridan Trent University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Sara Woods University of Nebraska at Omaha



values, capacity building, community engagement, belonging


Since the opening of the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Community Engagement Center in 2014, both university and community building partners have been guided by a set of core values. Established by a community/university task force after months of focus groups, community conversations, and other data gathering activities, these values have helped provide a foundation for the selection of university and community building partners, decision-making, and ongoing operations. This study explored the ways in which building partner alignment with the Weitz CEC values influenced their subsequent perceived organizational capacity. Results indicated that embracing the values was positively associated with increased perceptions of organizational capacity. Essentially, those who indicated they embraced the values experienced heightened feelings of belongingness, participated in more networking activities, and agreed that the culture was more cooperative, which contributed to their organization’s perceived capacity.



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