Social Capital

Social Capital

An Introduction to Managing Networks

Kenneth W. Koput

This volume teaches how to understand and manage social capital to facilitate individual and organizational learning and goal attainment. Coverage includes both orchestrating relationships of others and navigating one’s own social interactions. Written at an introductory level and accessible to those without background in network analysis or graph theory, this text combines both comprehensive analysis and concrete concepts to emphasize how critical a role social capital’s applications play on the foundations of business as we know it today.

Chapter 4: Egocentric Concepts and Applications

Kenneth W. Koput

Subjects: business and management, human resource management


Our next goal is to apply the basic concepts of social capital by taking the perspective of individuals, asking how they (or you) can use social capital to get ahead. We will be concerned with learning when to use social capital, both weak and strong, as well as with how to enact the interactions through which social capital gets developed and exchanged. 4.1 Perceptions and promotions Dan Brass conducted some of the earlier studies of how individuals’ social networks impact their influence and chances of promotion in work organizations. Brass (1984) is one of the first studies to separate three kinds of social relations that are roughly equivalent to Krackhardt and Hansen’s (1993) notions of communication, advice, and trust. Brass measured employees’ communication, workflow (similar here to advice, although elsewhere we will use the term workflow to indicate the formal flow of work), and friendship (inferred to indicate trust) ties. In addition to measuring different types of networks, Brass looked at variation in job categories (being in the technical core as against being in supportive functions) and workgroups (such as departments or teams). Brass found the following: ● ● Strong, cohesive ties outside of one’s workgroup, particularly to what he terms the dominant coalition of the organization, increase perceptions of influence. The dominant coalition is the group of workers with the most influence. An effect of strong ties on influence exists for all workers, but strong ties are especially impactful for workers in the technical core, who are unable to attain any...

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