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 1: Social Capital and Social Networks in Action

Kenneth W. Koput


In this chapter we’ll set forth some terminology that we’ll carry forward throughout the text and foreshadow things to come by previewing the steps involved in mapping networks. We’ll do the latter by providing examples of the use of social network analysis in diagnosing problems or uncovering opportunities in organizations. 1.1 Some terminology and definitions The most fundamental concept we have to define is that of a social tie. A relation or tie is said to exist when there is an incidence of ongoing, repeated contact between two parties. When a tie is distinct from any formal organization, it is called a social tie, or social relation. There are some things worth noting about social ties: 1. 2. They require two parties; the relations you have with yourself are not social. They require contact, but this contact does not have to be face to face. Contact could occur via phone, email, written correspondence, text messaging, or other means. The contact must be repeated, but it need not be frequent. Seeing a classmate every ten years at your reunion still constitutes a social tie. The contact must be ongoing, meaning that it is subject to occurring again at some time, although such a time can be indefinite. Even if you don’t know how long it will be until the next incidence of contact or exchange, but both parties are open to contact or exchange, a social tie exists. In the context of a formal organization, social ties must in some way...

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