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Abstract: In 2002, a successful community development corporation in Boston, Massachusetts was approached by two other organizations about potential mergers. Each organization had distinctive geographical and ethnic roots but there were clear financial and management advantages to be had from combining assets. In one case, merger discussions proceeded with the benefit of lawyers and common board connections. In the other case, despite good progress at the beginning, the merger talks became increasingly contentious with opposition from community groups who rallied political leadership to step in.
Learning Objective: This case offers the opportunity to analyze the action and decision-making of the three organizations using alliance, negotiations, organizing and strategic frameworks. It also allows the class to engage in discussion about the nature of "community" in community-based organizations.