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.

Chapter 9: Social Capital Creation: Collective Identities and Collective Action

Roderick M. Kramer

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


Roderick M. Kramer For a proper understanding of collective action, the existence of a collective identity should be recognized. (Gupta et al., 1997, p. 301) The quality of community life depends, in no small measure, on the willingness of its members to cooperate with each other. Such cooperation can assume many forms, including sharing vital information, conserving scarce resources and contributing to public goods. When members of a community are reluctant to cooperate in such a fashion, multiple problems arise. In extreme instances, such failures of cooperation and information-sharing can have even more catastrophic and tragic results, as the 9/11 Commission Report Investigating Terrorist Attacks in the United States concluded. The importance of social capital to organizational performance is well established. However, without strong cooperation between individuals, social capital would not exist. This chapter asserts that identification with the collective facilitates social capital creation. It explores the theoretical and empirical underpinnings for this idea and puts forth an integrated framework that shows how individuals’ social identities – and the connection of those identities with the collective – influence their willingness to contribute, or not contribute, to the reservoir of social capital available to that collective. It also draws on conceptual insights and empirical findings from several closely related streams of social psychological theory and research, including social identity theory, the Common Ingroup Identity model, self-categorization theory, and related theories pertaining to the social nature of the self.1 As described in Chapter 1 of this book, ‘What is social capital?’...

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