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Family Business and Social Capital

Edited by Ritch L. Sorenson

The chapters in this cutting edge book comprise scholarly work on social capital in family business along with chapters written by family business owners and advisors. Topics covered include social capital as it relates to governance, trust, family and business identity, communication, family councils, work–family balance, and the use of advisors and continuing education to build social capital. Novel in its approach of integrating the voices of scholars, business families, and advisors, this book is useful not only for business research and classroom use, but also for business families and their advisors.
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Chapter 2: The central role of trust in family firm social capital

Allison W. Pearson and Jon C. Carr

Extract

The concept of social capital originally emerged from work in community studies where city neighborhoods with strong personal relationships that developed over time provided the foundations for strong, trusting, cooperative relationships and collective action that helped sustain the neighborhood. The basic assumption of social capital theory is that when a strong set of relationships exists in a group, these relationships form feelings of gratitude, friendship, and respect, and create a sense of long- lasting obligation to the group. These bonds and ties lead to greater access to information and opportunities than those given to outsiders. Researchers have since expanded the notion that social capital can enhance the successful functioning of a variety of groups, including not only communities, but families and business organizations as well.

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