Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S.-W. (2002). Social Capital: Prospects for a New Concept. Academy of Management Review, 27(1), 17–40.
- Abstract: A growing number of sociologists, political scientists, economists, and organizational theorists have invoked the concept of social capital in the search for answers to a broadening range of questions being confronted in their own fields. Seeking to clarify the concept and help assess its utility for organizational theory, we synthesize the theoretical research undertaken in these various disciplines and develop a common conceptual framework that identifies the sources, benefits, risks, and contingencies of social capital.
Ali-Hassan, H., Nevo, D., & Wade, M. (2015). Linking dimensions of social media use to job performance: The role of social capital. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 24(2), 65–89.
- Abstract: Organizations are increasingly adopting new technologies, such as social media, that afford employees a repertoire of uses not simply focused on work, but also on socialization and entertainment. Knowledge regarding the impact of such diverse technologies on job performance, however, is currently limited. This study adopts a technology use lens to study the effect of three categories of social media use – social, hedonic, and cognitive – on job performance, as mediated by three dimensions of social capital. The research was conducted via a large-scale survey within a multinational Information Technology company. Social and cognitive uses of technology were empirically shown to have a positive, albeit indirect, effect on employees’ routine and innovative job performance. Hedonic use of the technology, while having a direct negative impact on routine performance was shown to positively contribute to the development of social ties, leading to a mitigating positive influence on innovative performance. This interesting positive side of hedonic use, along with all findings from our study, are discussed and used to offer insights to future research and practice.
Baehr, C., & Alex-Brown, K. (2010). Assessing the Value of Corporate Blogs: A Social Capital Perspective. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 53(4), 358–369.
- Abstract—This three-phased study examines corporate blog use, specifically the impact and value of blogs on organizational social capital and knowledge sharing at Dell Inc., a global computer manufacturer. The impact of social-mediated Web 2.0 technologies on organizational social capital has received limited attention in scholarship, possibly because of the inevident connection to measurable economic value and newness of the technology. Our findings indicate the corporate blog can be used as a sustainable forum leading to a shared understanding of organizational roles, increased sense of group cohesiveness, improved work processes, and improved professional and personal ties among employees in the organization.
Barker, V., Dozier, D. M., Weiss, A. S., & Borden, D. L. (2015). Harnessing peer potency: Predicting positive outcomes from social capital affinity and online engagement with participatory websites. New Media & Society, 17(10), 1603–1623.
- Abstract: This study involved data from a survey of a representative sample of 1417 US Internet users investigating positive outcomes from three types of participatory websites: social networking sites, e-commerce sites, and content communities (i.e. news organizations and content sharing sites). The findings indicate that the experience of flow (intense engagement in and enjoyment of an activity) promotes satisfaction with and affirmation for such websites as well as perceived focused and incidental knowledge-gain from them. Social capital affinity (sympathy marked by community of interest, and likeness based on weak ties) was found to strongly facilitate the experience of flow. Thus, the findings underscore the potency of online peers in terms of enhancing a variety of Internet experiences.
Bharati, P., Zhang, W., & Chaudhury, A. (2015). Better knowledge with social media? Exploring the roles of social capital and organizational knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management; Kempston, 19(3), 456–475.
- Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore social media’s impact on organizational knowledge quality through the theoretical lens of social capital and resource exchange. Design/methodology/approach – This is a theory-confirming, quantitative study using panel data collected through a Web-based survey. Findings – The results show that while social media affects structural capital and cognitive capital directly, it only affects relational capital indirectly through structural and cognitive capital. Moreover, overall social media and the enhanced social capital do help promote organizational efforts in knowledge management, which subsequently leads to a higher level of organizational knowledge quality. Research limitations/implications – All survey respondents were from the USA, which may limit the generalizability of the findings. The authors also call for more research in establishing the time sequence in the proposed causal relations and in the individual-level mechanism through which social media promotes organizational knowledge quality. Practical implications – This study highlights both the potential and limitations of social media in promoting organizational knowledge management. Businesses must consciously manage the assimilation and use of social media to benefit from them. Originality/value – The authors position the study at the intersection of social media, social capital and knowledge management and explicate how social media work through social capital and organizational knowledge management efforts to affect knowledge quality.
Burke, M., Kraut, R., & Marlow, C. (2011). Social Capital on Facebook: Differentiating Uses and Users. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 571–580). New York, NY, USA: ACM.
- Abstract: Though social network site use is often treated as a monolithic activity, in which all time is equally “social” and its impact the same for all users, we examine how Facebook affects social capital depending upon: (1) types of site activities, contrasting one-on-one communication, broadcasts to wider audiences, and passive consumption of social news, and (2) individual differences among users, including social communication skill and self-esteem. Longitudinal surveys matched to server logs from 415 Facebook users reveal that receiving messages from friends is associated with increases in bridging social capital, but that other uses are not. However, using the site to passively consume news assists those with lower social fluency draw value from their connections. The results inform site designers seeking to increase social connectedness and the value of those connections.
Cao, X., Guo, X., Liu, H., & Gu, J. (2015). The role of social media in supporting knowledge integration: A social capital analysis. Information Systems Frontiers, 17(2), 351–362.
- Abstract: Internet of things (IoT) is a current trend that reveals the next generation Internet-based information architecture, the convergence of social networks and IoT solutions is helpful to optimize relationships among objects. In order for IoT to take off in the IT sector, providers and other stakeholders must integrate knowledge successfully. In this study, we investigate the role of social media in supporting knowledge integration from a social capital perspective. Specifically, we propose that social media have the potential to facilitate the formation of employees’ social capital indicated by social networking, trust and shared language. These mediating variables will in turn positively affect knowledge integration. This research frame is validated with survey data collected from 262 Chinese working professionals. The results provide general empirical support for our hypotheses. In analogy with social media for human beings, the future direction of socialization among objects can be inspired by this study.
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook “Friends:” Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168.
- Abstract: This study examines the relationship between use of Facebook, a popular online social network site, and the formation and maintenance of social capital. In addition to assessing bonding and bridging social capital, we explore a dimension of social capital that assesses one’s ability to stay connected with members of a previously inhabited community, which we call maintained social capital. Regression analyses conducted on results from a survey of undergraduate students (N = 286) suggest a strong association between use of Facebook and the three types of social capital, with the strongest relationship being to bridging social capital. In addition, Facebook usage was found to interact with measures of psychological well-being, suggesting that it might provide greater benefits for users experiencing low self-esteem and low life satisfaction.
Fulk, J., & Yuan, Y. C. (2013). Location, Motivation, and Social Capitalization via Enterprise Social Networking. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(1), 20–37.
- Abstract: This article conceptualizes how the affordances of enterprise social networking systems can help reduce three challenges in sharing organizational knowledge. These challenges include location of expertise, motivation to share knowledge, and social capitalization in the form of developing and maintaining social ties with knowledge providers to actualize knowledge sharing. Building on previous theories and empirical research on transactive memory theory, public goods theory, and social capital theories, as well as recent research on enterprise social media, we argue that the affordances of enterprise social networking systems can better address these knowledge sharing challenges than those of conventional knowledge management systems in that social networking applications can blend connective and communal sharing of knowledge.
Gil de Zúñiga, H., Jung, N., & Valenzuela, S. (2012). Social Media Use for News and Individuals’ Social Capital, Civic Engagement and Political Participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17(3), 319–336.
- Abstract: Recently, scholars tested how digital media use for informational purposes similarly contributes to foster democratic processes and the creation of social capital. Nevertheless, in the context of today’s socially-networked-society and the rise of social media applications (i.e., Facebook) new perspectives need to be considered. Based on U.S. national data, results show that after controlling for demographic variables, traditional media use offline and online, political constructs (knowledge and efficacy), and frequency and size of political discussion networks, seeking information via social network sites is a positive and significant predictor of people’s social capital and civic and political participatory behaviors, online and offline.
Godechot, O. (2016). The chance of influence: A natural experiment on the role of social capital in faculty recruitment. Social Networks, 46, 60–75.
- Abstract: The effect of social capital is often overestimated because contacts and centrality can be a consequence of success rather than its cause. Only rare randomized or natural experiments can assess the real causal effect of social capital. This paper relies on data from one such experiment: faculty recruitment at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) between 1960 and 2005, a leading French institution of higher education in the social sciences. It exploits the fact that the electoral commission, a hiring committee which produces a first ranking of applicants, is partly composed of faculty members drawn at random. It shows that when the PhD advisor is randomly drawn, it doubles the chances of an applicant of being shortlisted.
Hollenbeck, J., & Jamieson, B. (2015). Human capital, social capital, and social network analysis: Implications for strategic human resource management. Academy of Management Perspectives, 29(3), 370–385.
- Abstract: Human resource management research has traditionally taken the attribute approach; outcomes are considered to be dependent on attributes of the individuals or attributes of the job itself. However, many of the phenomena and outcomes related to human capital, such as recruiting and onboarding, teamwork and communication, knowledge management, and employee satisfaction are also dependent on social capital and the relational networks that exist among employees. Social network analysis is a methodology that has so far been underutilized within the human capital field, but it is uniquely suited for helping researchers and practitioners understand the complex relationships that are driving organizations. This article provides an introduction to social network analysis and explains how it can be applied to both research and practice, with the goal of developing new ways of thinking about human capital, social capital, and the important interaction between the two.
Lin, N. (1999). Building a Network Theory of Social Capital. Connections, 22(1), 28–51.
- Abstract: The paper will begin by exploring the nature of capital and various theories of capital, so that social capital can be properly perceived and located. It will then identify certain controversies which, unless clarified or resolved, will hinder the development of a theory and the research enterprise. By considering social capital as assets in networks, the paper will discuss some issues in conceptualizations, measurements, and causal mechanisms (the factors leading to inequality of social capital and the returns following investments in social capital). A proposed model will follow. The paper will conclude by calling attention to the rise of a new form of social capital, cybernetworks, and briefly suggesting how research on this topic promises to make important contributions to the research enterprise.
Lin, Nan. (1999). Social Networks and Status Attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 467.
- Abstract: This essay traces the development of the research enterprise, known as the social resources theory, which formulated and tested a number of propositions concerning the relationships between embedded resources in social networks and socioeconomic attainment. This enterprise, seen in the light of social capital, has accumulated a substantial body of research literature and supported the proposition that social capital, in terms of both access and mobilization of embedded resources, enhances the chances of attaining better statuses. Further, social capital is contingent on initial positions in the social hierarchies as well as on extensity of social ties. The essay concludes with a discussion of remaining critical issues and future research directions for thisresearch enterprise.
Maurer, I., Bartsch, V., & Ebers, M. (2011). The Value of Intra-organizational Social Capital: How it Fosters Knowledge Transfer, Innovation Performance, and Growth. Organization Studies, 32(2), 157–185.
- Abstract: While most literature promotes a positive impact of social capital on various organizational performance outcomes, empirical results on the social capital–organizational performance link are not conclusive. We propose that one reason for the discordant findings is that research has largely not accounted for the mediating process steps that translate social capital into organizational performance outcomes. We suggest that organizational performance outcomes of organization members’ social capital hinge on the mediating processes of resource mobilization, assimilation, and use. An empirical study of 218 projects in the German engineering industry supports our theoretical model. Findings show that knowledge transfer (conceptualized as the mobilization, assimilation, and use of knowledge resources) mediates between organization members’ intra-organizational social capital and organizational performance outcomes of growth and innovation performance. The present study thus contributes to a deeper understanding of the value of intra-organizational social capital.
Pena-López, J. A., & Sánchez-Santos, J. M. (2017). Individual social capital: Accessibility and mobilization of resources embedded in social networks. Social Networks, 49, 1–11.
- Abstract: The objective of the present paper is to characterize the structure of individual social networks and to pro- vide new insights into the underlying mechanism of individual social capitalization process. In particular, we put to the test three main assumptions underlying Lin’s seminal explanatory model of individual social capital determinants (Lin, 2001). We analyzed the results of an extensive and specifically designed survey on personal networks in Spanish society (OSIM, 2011). Our findings, based on the use of Principal Component Analysis (PCA), regression and structural methods allow us to complement Lin’s general model distinguishing accessibility and mobilization of social resources. Furthermore, the empirical evidence suggests the need for introducing a significant distinction between instrumental-expert and expressive mobilization. Finally, our analysis allows us to identify the main determining factors of both forms of capitalization of personal relations.
Quinn, K. (2016). Contextual social capital: linking the contexts of social media use to its outcomes. Information, Communication & Society, 19(5), 582–600.
- Abstract: The established link between social media use and social capital reflects the understanding that these media are useful for establishing and maintaining relationships. Yet, social media are frequently used for other purposes, such as entertainment, information seeking, and companionship. Using a uses and gratifications approach, this study explores how contexts of social media use intersect with social capital. From data gathered in an online survey of approximately 350 social media users, multiple multivariate regression analysis was used to analyze the contributions that individual contexts of social media use make on bridging, bonding, and maintained social capital. This analysis demonstrates that while everyday instrumental communication is a primary contributor to the accrual of all forms of social capital, the use of social media use to express care and concern for others and for entertainment is also important to social capital outcomes. These findings underscore the importance of considering context to understand the effects of social media use.
Reagans, R., & Zuckerman, E. W. (2001). Networks, Diversity, and Productivity: The Social Capital of Corporate R&D Teams. Organization Science, 12(4), 502–517.
- Abstract: We argue that the debate regarding the performance implications of demographic diversity can be usefully reframed in terms of the network variables that reflect distinct forms of social capital. Scholars who are pessimistic about the performance of diverse teams base their view on the hypothesis that decreased network density—the average strength of the relationship among team members—lowers a team’s capacity for coordination. The optimistic view is founded on the hypothesis that teams that are characterized by high network heterogeneity. Whereby relationships on the team cut across salient demographic boundaries, enjoy an enhanced learning capability. We test each of these hypotheses directly and thereby avoid the problematic assumption that they contradict one another. Our analysis of data on the social networks, organizational tenure, and productivity of 224 corporate R&D teams indicates that both network variables help account for team productivity. These findings support a recasting of the diversity-performance debate in terms of the network processes that are more proximate to outcomes of interest.
Robert, J., Lionel P., Dennis, A. R., & Ahuja, M. K. (2008). Social Capital and Knowledge Integration in Digitally Enabled Teams. Information Systems Research, 19(3), 314–334.
- Abstract: To understand the impact of social capital on knowledge integration and performance within digitally enabled teams, we studied 46 teams who had a history and a future working together. All three dimensions of their social capital (structural, relational, and cognitive) were measured prior to the team performing two tasks in a controlled setting, one face-to-face and the other through a lean digital network. Structural and cognitive capital were more important to knowledge integration when teams communicated through lean digital networks than when they communicated face-to-face; relational capital directly impacted knowledge integration equally, regardless of the communication media used by the team. Knowledge integration, in turn, impacted team decision quality, suggesting that social capital influences team performance in part by increasing a team’s ability to integrate knowledge. These results suggest that team history may be necessary but not sufficient for teams to overcome the problems with the use of lean digital networks as a communication environment. However, team history may present a window of opportunity for social capital to develop, which in turn allows teams to perform just as well as in either communication environment.
Sheng, M., & Hartono, R. (2015). An exploratory study of knowledge creation and sharing in online community: a social capital perspective. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 26(1/2), 93–107.
- Abstract: This study uses a conceptual model that integrates three research streams – knowledge creation and sharing, social capital, and online communities – to explore how social capital facilitates the creation and sharing of knowledge in online communities. It incorporates data from three well-known multinational firms, namely, Adobe, Dell, and Starbucks (software applications, computer and IT peripherals, and a coffee franchiser in a service industry, respectively). Our results show (1) why and how knowledge is created and shared, cultivated in online communities and then adopted by firms; (2) that social capital positively facilitates the creation and sharing of knowledge in online communities; and (3) that the process of creating and sharing knowledge nourishes the following outcomes which benefit the firm: it accelerates the development of new products, enhances relationships with partners, raises the level of environment and community involvement, creates customer acknowledgement, and intensifies product and service innovation.
Sherif, K., Hoffman, J., & Thomas, B. (2006). Can technology build organizational social capital? The case of a global IT consulting firm. Information & Management, 43(7), 795–804.
- Abstract: Knowledge management (KM) and knowledge management systems (KMS) have been positioned as strategies and tools that enable organizations to create and transfer knowledge in order to sustain competitive advantage. While KM as a strategy gained legitimacy, KMS have struggled to show a causal relationship to knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. KMS contribution to the economic performance of organizations has been harder to prove, mainly because of a lack of collection of data and thus analysis of knowledge metrics. This has led to an unjustifiable move to underplay the role of technology in creating and transferring knowledge. We strived to revive interest in KMS by exploring their ability to accumulate social capital and showing its effect on the creation and transfer of knowledge. We posited that social capital was the mediating factor between KMS and knowledge creation and transfer and hypothesized that: (1) KMS will positively affect an organization’s ability to build social capital, and that (2) social capital will enhance a firm’s ability to create and transfer knowledge. Qualitative data collected from a multinational IT consulting firm was used to validate the framework.
Sun, Y., & Shang, R.-A. (2014). The interplay between users’ intra-organizational social media use and social capital. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 334–341.
- Abstract: The wide acceptance of social media by the public has caused companies try to use intra-organizational social media to increase employee work performance. However, simply implementing a platform is insufficient for success. Companies must encourage employees to use social media for work-related purposes. This study divided the use of intra-organizational social media into social- and work-related use and proposed a model based on the theory of social capital to explore the effects of social-related use on work related use. The model was tested using a survey of users of intra-organizational microblog systems in China. The results indicate the relationships among two types of intra-organizational use and the dimensions of social capital, and that social-related use fosters work-related use directly and indirectly by enhancing social capital. These results facilitate an understanding of the value of social activities conducted using intra-organizational social media in organizations.
Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm networks. Academy of Management Journal; Briarcliff Manor, 41(4), 464–476.
Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is There Social Capital in a Social Network Site?: Facebook Use and College Students’ Life Satisfaction, Trust, and Participation1. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(4), 875–901.
- Abstract: This study examines if Facebook, one of the most popular social network sites among college students in the U.S., is related to attitudes and behaviors that enhance individuals’ social capital. Using data from a random web survey of college students across Texas (n = 2, 603), we find positive relationships between intensity of Facebook use and students’ life satisfaction, social trust, civic engagement, and political participation. While these findings should ease the concerns of those who fear that Facebook has mostly negative effects on young adults, the positive and significant associations between Facebook variables an social capital were small, suggesting that online social networks are not the most effective solution for youth disengagement from civic duty and democracy.
Vergeer, M., Lim, Y. S., & Park, H. W. (2011). Mediated relations: new methods to study online social capital. Asian Journal of Communication, 21(5), 430–449.
- Abstract: The Web has expanded the research agenda for communication scholars to study social capital. In this field of Internet studies, new indicators of social behavior and social relations have surfaced to describe and understand how social capital develops online and what the consequences are for social capital in general. Specifically, Web 2.0 as characterized by User Generated Content on weblogs and the enormously popular social network sites significantly increased the importance of studying online social capital. To study online social capital, traditional and new means of data collection and analysis can be used. This study focuses on the origins of the concept of social capital, how it is used in communication studies, and the means to measure social capital. Furthermore, two examples of studying online behavior and online social relations are provided to represent webometric tools for data collection and analysis: (1) the analysis of hyperlinks between political actors’ websites in South Korea, and (2) semantic network analysis of writings produce by professional journalists online and bloggers in South Korea. These examples use advanced analytical methods (hyperlink network analysis and semantic network analysis) to understand the online practices.
Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why Should I Share? Examining Social Capital and Knowledge Contribution in Electronic Networks of Practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 35–57.
- Abstract: Electronic networks of practice are computer mediated discussion forums focused on problems of practice that enable individuals to exchange advice and ideas with others based on common interests. However, why individuals help strangers in these electronic networks is not well under stood: there is no immediate benefit to the contributor, and free-riders are able to acquire the same knowledge as everyone else. To understand this paradox, we apply theories of collective action to examine how individual motivations and social capital influence knowledge contribution in electronic networks. This study reports on the activities of one electronic network supporting a professional legal association. Using archival, network, survey, and content analysis data, we empirically test a model of knowledge contribution. We find that people contribute their knowledge when they perceive that it enhances their professional reputations, when they have the experience to share, and when they are structurally embedded in the network. Surprisingly, contributions occur without regard to expectations of reciprocity from others or high levels of commitment to the network.