An Introduction to Managing Networks
Chapter 2: Central Concepts: Social Capital, Strong and Weak
2 Central concepts: social capital, strong and weak 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...
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