Sunday, 15 June 2008

Theorising engagement

Supervisor #2 has come up with an idea that nicely relates to the way I am thinking about relationships. He suggests that rather than using Actor-Network theory that I consider social network theory. He's come across this paper by Nahapiet & Ghoshal that describes how the structures of social networks can improve social capital and the structure of those networks can also lead to increased intellectual capital {Nahapiet, 1998}. There are three dimensions to creating intellectual capital through social capital:
  1. structural dimension: who is connected to whom, i.e. network ties, network configuration, appropriable organisation
  2. cognitive dimension: to what extent are there shared concepts between people, i.e. shared codes & language, shared narratives
  3. relational dimension: what are the established norms of how people behave, i.e trust, norms, obligations, identification.
Each dimension contributes in different combinations. The combinations and exchange of intellectual capital are:
  • access to parties for combining/exchanging intellectual capital
  • anticipation of value through combining /exchanging intellectual capital
  • motivation to combine /exchange intellectual capital
  • combination capability
These combinations and exchanges create new intellectual capital.

Sounds cool!

Nahapiet, J. and Ghoshal, S. (1998) 'SOCIAL CAPITAL, INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL, AND THE ORGANIZATIONAL ADVANTAGE', Academy of Management Review, 23 (2), pp. 242-266. 842

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