Social Capital
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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.
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Chapter 2: Central Concepts: Social Capital, Strong and Weak

Kenneth W. Koput


In this chapter we’ll cover some basic ideas about social capital: its properties, its forms, and the two major types, strong tie social capital and weak tie social capital. 2.1 Properties and forms of social capital James Coleman popularized the concept of social capital in economic behavior in his paper ‘Social capital in the creation of human capital’ (1988). We are going to be more concerned with what Coleman tells us about social capital itself than about its role in the creation of human capital. Coleman reviews some properties of social capital and then provides examples to illustrate the productive value in social relations. The examples also allow us to understand the forms of social capital and how network structure influences these forms. Properties We’ll begin with four key properties of social capital. We start by parsing the term into its components, taken in reverse order: capital and social. Capital is a productive resource that can be invested to produce value. This is true of financial capital as well as human capital (your talents, experience, education, and so on). We expect the same of social capital. The social part implies that it belongs not to individuals, but to a social structure, be it an organization, community, or other social grouping. As such, social capital stems from relationships between social actors, rather than the endowments of the actors themselves. Social capital is: ● ● ● ● a productive resource that can be used to create value; an investment, with an element of risk the value...

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