Theory of Aligned Contributions: An Emerging Theory of Change Primer

Jolie Bain Pillsbury, PhD, Sherbrooke Consulting, Inc.

The Theory of Aligned Contributions paper lays out the conditions needed to move a complex problem from today’s reality to intended results. It proposes that population-level changes are more likely to occur if a group of cross-sector leaders are publicly accountable for a specific result (say all children in a community graduate from high school), and take aligned actions at a big enough scale that they can achieve the result.

While the Theory of Aligned Contributions can be a bit heady for those who do not spend a lot of time reading theories of change, it also offers three useful and practical frameworks for those doing the work:

  1. Leaders with a Collaborative Skill Set – advocates for four competencies leaders need to make aligned contributions;
  2. The Four Quadrants of Aligned Action for Results – which helps leaders reflect on how all their own assumptions limit or enable them to be highly aligned contributors to a common result; and
  3. The Practice – is broken down into three components the “call to action,” “the container,” and the “capacity to collaborate.”
Global Topics: Organizational Relationships
Focus Areas: Organizational Relationships
Resource Types: Publication