Social Capital

Social Capital

Reaching Out, Reaching In

Edited by Viva Ona Bartkus and James H. Davis

This book showcases new innovative research in economics, politics, sociology, and management regarding the topic. Leading scholars from a variety of disciplines present ground-breaking new research exploring the still-undiscovered value of social capital. The book employs a self-consciously multi-disciplinary approach to address two objectives: reaching out and reaching in. Through theoretical and empirical scholarship, the authors explore the many contexts in which the phenomenon can have impact. In effect, social capital research reaches out to issues of economic well-being, civic participation, educational achievement, knowledge and norm formation, and competitive advantage. Further, the authors investigate the many connections between the core themes of social capital and the pillars on which it rests, including structural networks, cognition, relationships and trust. This book is fundamentally about bridging – bridging across disciplines, units of analysis, and themes.

Introduction

Viva Ona Bartkus and James H. Davis

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, public management, politics and public policy, public administration and management, public policy

Extract

: the yet undiscovered value of social capital Viva Ona Bartkus and James H. Davis At heart, social capital is a simple concept – that is, relationships matter. Every day we build and maintain relationships with family, friends and colleagues, relationships which we enjoy in their own right, but which also serve to help us through tough times or enable us to achieve our goals. We also intuitively understand that excessive solidarity within a community can become a liability and lead to discrimination and prejudice. Despite its simplicity, social capital has taken the social sciences by storm. However, it has also remained controversial, even with regard to its basic definition – a rare achievement after two decades of vibrant debate. The question arises – why do scholars bother when resolution eludes the field? In other words, why does social capital generate so much interest? At their core, social capital theories help explain behavior. Economic, political and sociological models of human behavior are often unable to explain significant differences in human performance. By examining social capital, scholars hope to overcome the limits of these paradigms. Social capital scholarship contributes crucial theoretical insights by expanding the inquiry into the causes of behavior to include a wealth of new additional factors – such as trust, networks and norms. In effect, social capital scholarship provides a distinct lens that can explain human motivation and actions, especially collaboration, and outcomes. Moreover, this research explores the paradox of cooperative behavior without sacrificing the microassumptions that are...