Collective impact: a review of the peer-reviewed research

Gretchen Ennis*, Matalena Tofa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Collective Impact (CI) is a framework for collaborative social change that has gained considerable attention over the past seven years. In this article we review the peer-reviewed academic research on the CI framework to understand what is known about its use. Nineteen articles were located. We identified four themes in the research: A need to adapt CI to the specific context, its technical nature, the importance of relationships, and concerns about power and equity. The literature on the CI framework is in its infancy and as such tends to focus on capacity building or model development. Whilst CI promotes important discussion about collaboration and social change, issues of power, equity and grass-roots engagement require further attention.

Implications: Peer reviewed academic research on the application of CI is at an early stage and further research is needed. Social workers should carefully consider critiques of CI before adopting this framework for social change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Collective Impact
  • Community
  • Literature Review


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