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 11: Trust, Distrust and Building Social Capital

Roy. J. Lewicki and Chad T. Brinsfield

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


Roy J. Lewicki and Chad T. Brinsfield The relationship between trust and social capital offers significant insights that are often actionable. While it is hard to challenge the existence of a strong, positive relationship between the two, a closer examination of trust research reveals multiple issues. Trust has been defined in many different ways: in some cases it focuses on the trustors’ perceptions, intentions, attitudes, expectations and behaviors; in others, the qualities and conduct of the trustee; in yet others, the type and level of trust judgments or the context in which people decide to trust. The question also exists as to whether trust and distrust are opposite ends of a single construct or distinctly different entities that can coexist. Similar difficulties occur when we try to relate trust to social capital. As this volume clearly shows (Ostrom, Chapter 1; Kramer, Chapter 9; Davis and Bartkus, Chapter 13), the delineation of social capital and its related constructs is still the subject of much scrutiny and academic discussion, often yielding far more heat than light. Our argument is that different types of trust exist and that trust and distrust are conceptually and empirically distinct. However, we also assert that the same relationship may contain both trust and distrust, and that such a combination can be healthy. In fact, the balance of the two forms the basis of social capital in many relationships (interpersonal, group or organizational). But if the relationship is going to...

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