Friday, 9 October 2009

Projects and social capital

Nahapiet & Ghoshal’s (1998) model assumes the existence of social capital; the fed back intellectual capital is apparently the only input to sustain social capital. Nahapiet & Ghoshal point out,
“much of this capital is embedded within networks of mutual acquaintance and recognition”
so interaction is essential for the development and maintenance of social capital but that development takes time. Something needs to create the social capital in the first place.

In a project context, which by its nature is temporary and time bounded, the various project members may well come without pre-existing relationships, and hence, without social capital as a means to create and exchange intellectual capital. Without initial social capital, Nahapiet & Ghoshal’s model cannot start to apply.

Project members must create initial social capital. How do they get started? That's where they need to engage with each other.

Nahapiet, J. and S. Ghoshal (1998). "Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage." Academy of Management Review 23(2): 242-266.

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