Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Calculating social capital

In the British Computer Society May monthly magazine, IT Now, Karen Lawrence Öqvist discusses how to harness the social capital of a business. The article is also on line here. What surprises me is that she calculates and measures it. She creates a measurement matrix with factors:
  • activity
  • linking
  • new groups
  • knowledge capital uploaded
  • knowledge capital downloaded
Apply these factors to each employee to enable measurement and convert to
"a form that will allow a picture of the informal organisation".
(It seems a bit odd to quantify something in order to get a picture).
Maybe she's got something because after all, Google's search engines use similar ranking algorithms for search results, so why not create an algorithm for social capital.

Practicalities of quantifying some of these factors stall me. For example
Knowledge Capital x Linkage x Relationship Building x Information Seeking x Information Sharing are needed to calculate employee social capital but I don't know how to quantify these. I wonder who has done the calculation, on what sort of business. How happy are they with the model? Perhaps I'd better read Öqvist's book.

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