Sunday, 3 April 2011

What do you mean by social capital?

I use Adler and Kwon's definition of social capital:
"the goodwill that is engendered by the fabric of social relations"
but Putnam who also identified bridging and bonding social capital, conceptualised it as
"arising from a stock of networks, norms and trust"
My research draws heavily on Nahapiet and Ghoshal's paper, which refers to Bourdieu's concept of social capital as the actual or potential resources that can be accessed through networks of relationships, and that potentiality is important in a situation like a project where participants haven't yet interactedl, and social capital has yet to be mobilised.

Although there isn't one agreed definition of it, social capital theory is relevant to explaining relationships so it's relevant to what I've been researching, but social capital theory doesn't go far enough in explaining ab initio relationships where people have not yet interacted and exchanged social capital. To explain such new relationships we need a theory that extends on the theory of social capital.

Adler, P. S. & Kwon, S.-W. 2002. Social Capital: Prospects for a New Concept. Academy of Management Review, 27(1): 17-40.
Nahapiet, J. & Ghoshal, S. 1998. Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(2): 242-266.
Putnam, R. D. 2000. Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York ; London: Simon & Schuster.
Putnam. 1993. The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life. American Prospect, 13: 35-42.

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