Network analysis of inter-organizational relationships and policy use among active living organizations in Alberta, Canada

Christina C. Loitz, Jodie A. Stearns, Shawn N. Fraser, Kate Storey, John C. Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Coordinated partnerships and collaborations can optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of service and program delivery in organizational networks. However, the extent to which organizations are working together to promote physical activity, and use physical activity policies in Canada, is unknown. This project sought to provide a snapshot of the funding, coordination and partnership relationships among provincial active living organizations (ALOs) in Alberta, Canada. Additionally, the awareness, and use of the provincial policy and national strategy by the organizations was examined. Methods: Provincial ALOs (N = 27) answered questions regarding their funding, coordination and partnership connections with other ALOs in the network. Social network analysis was employed to examine network structure and position of each ALO. Discriminant function analysis determined the extent to which degree centrality was associated with the use of the Active Alberta (AA) policy and Active Canada 20/20 (AC 20/20) strategy. Results: The funding network had a low density level (density =.20) and was centralized around Alberta Tourism Parks and Recreation (ATPR; degree centralization = 48.77%, betweenness centralization = 32.43%). The coordination network had a moderate density level (density =.31), and was low-to-moderately centralized around a few organizations (degree centralization = 45.37%, betweenness centrality = 19.92%). The partnership network had a low density level (density =.15), and was moderate-to-highly centralized around ATPR. Most organizations were aware of AA (89%) and AC 20/20 (78%), however more were using AA (67%) compared to AC 20/20 (33%). Central ALOs in the funding network were more likely to use AA and AC 20/20. Central ALOs in the coordination network were more likely to use AC 20/20, but not AA. Conclusions: Increasing formal and informal relationships between organizations and integrating disconnected or peripheral organizations could increase the capacity of the network to promote active living across Alberta. Uptake of the AA policy within the network is high and appears to be facilitated by the most central ALO. Promoting policy use through a central organization appeared to be an effective strategy for disseminating the province-level physical activity policy and could be considered as a policy-uptake strategy by other regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number649
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug. 2017


  • Active Alberta
  • Active Canada 20/20
  • Coordination
  • Funding
  • Health promotion
  • Integration
  • Network analysis
  • Organization
  • Partnership
  • Physical activity
  • Policy


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