Social Capital: Theory and Research

Transaction Publishers
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Leading scholars in the field of social networks from diverse disciplines present the first systematic and comprehensive collection of current theories and empirical research on the informal connections that individuals have for support, help, and information from other people. Expanding on concepts originally formulated by Pierre Bourdieu and James Coleman, this seminal work will find an essential place with educators and students in the fields of social networks, rational choice theory, institutions, and the socioeconomics of poverty, labor markets, social psychology, and race.

The volume is divided into three parts. The first segment clarifies social capital as a concept and explores its theoretical and operational bases. Additional segments provide brief accounts that place the development of social capital in the context of the family of capital theorists, and identify some critical but controversial perspectives and statements regarding social capital in the literature. The editors then make the argument for the network perspective, why and how such a perspective can clarify controversies and advance our understanding of a whole range of instrumental and expressive outcomes.

Social Capital further provides a forum for ongoing research programs initiated by social scientists working at the crossroads of formal theory and new methods. These scholars and programs share certain understandings and approaches in their analyses of social capital. They argue that social networks are the foundation of social capital. Social networks simultaneously capture individuals and social structure, thus serving as a vital conceptual link between actions and structural constraints, between micro- and macro-level analyses, and between relational and collective dynamic processes. They are further cognizant of the dual significance of the "structural" features of the social networks and the "resources" embedded in the networks as defining elements of social capital.

Nan Lin is professor of sociology, Duke University.

Karen Cook is Ray Lyman Wilber Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Stanford University.

Ronald S. Burt is Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2001
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Pages
333
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ISBN
9780202368948
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / Interpersonal Relations
Psychology / Social Psychology
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Social Capital, the advantage created by location in social structure, is a critical element in business strategy. Who has it, how it works, and how to develop it have become key questions as markets, organizations, and careers become more and more dependent on informal, discretionary relationships. The formal organization deals with accountability; Everything else flows through the informal: advice, coordination, cooperation friendship, gossip, knowledge, trust. Informal relations have always been with us, they have always mattered. What is new is the range of activities in which they now matter, and the emerging clarity we have about how they create advantage for certain people at the expense of others. This is done by brokerage and closure. Ronald S. Burt builds upon his celebrated work in this area to explore the nature of brokerage and closure. Brokerage is the activity of people who live at the intersection of social worlds, who have a vision advantage of seeing and developing good ideas, an advantage which can be seen in their compensation, recognition, and the responsibility they're entrusted with in comparison to their peers. Closure is the tightening of coordination in a closed network of people, and people who do this do well as a complement to brokers because of the trust and alignment they create. Brokerage and Closure explores how these elements work together to define social capital, showing how in the business world reputation has come to replace authority, pursued opportunity assignment, and reward has come to be associated with achieving competitive advantage in a social order of continuous disequilibrium.
There is a moral to this book, a bit of Confucian wisdom often ignored in social network analysis: "Worry not that no one knows you, seek to be worth knowing." This advice is contrary to the usual social network emphasis on securing relations with well-connected people. Neighbor Networks examines the cases of analysts, bankers, and managers, and finds that rewards, in fact, do go to people with well-connected colleagues. Look around your organization. The individuals doing well tend to be affiliated with well-connected colleagues. However, the advantage obvious to the naked eye is misleading. It disappears when an individual's own characteristics are held constant. Well-connected people do not have to affiliate with people who have nothing to offer. This book shows that affiliation with well-connected people adds stability but no advantage to a person's own connections. Advantage is concentrated in people who are themselves well connected. This book is a trail of argument and evidence that leads to the conclusion that individuals make a lot of their own network advantage. The social psychology of networks moves to center stage and personal responsibility emerges as a key theme. In the end, the social is affirmed, but with an emphasis on individual agency and the social psychology of networks. The research gives new emphasis to Coleman's initial image of social capital as a forcing function for human capital. This book is for academics and researchers of organizational and network studies interested in a new angle on familiar data, and as a supplemental reading in graduate courses on social networks, stratification, or organizations. A variety of research settings are studied, and diverse theoretical perspectives are taken. The book's argument and evidence are supported by ample appendices for readers interested in background details.
The effective functioning of a democratic society—including social, business, and political interactions—largely depends on trust. Yet trust remains a fragile and elusive resource in many of the organizations that make up society's building blocks. In their timely volume, Trust and Distrust in Organizations, editors Roderick M. Kramer and Karen S. Cook have compiled the most important research on trust in organizations, illuminating the complex nature of how trust develops, functions, and often is thwarted in organizational settings. With contributions from social psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and organizational theorists, the volume examines trust and distrust within a variety of settings—from employer-employee and doctor-patient relationships, to geographically dispersed work teams and virtual teams on the internet. Trust and Distrust in Organizations opens with an in-depth examination of hierarchical relationships to determine how trust is established and maintained between people with unequal power. Kurt Dirks and Daniel Skarlicki find that trust between leaders and their followers is established when people perceive a shared background or identity and interact well with their leader. After trust is established, people are willing to assume greater risks and to work harder. In part II, the contributors focus on trust between people in teams and networks. Roxanne Zolin and Pamela Hinds discover that trust is more easily established in geographically dispersed teams when they are able to meet face-to-face initially. Trust and Distrust in Organizations moves on to an examination of how people create and foster trust and of the effects of power and betrayal on trust. Kimberly Elsbach reports that managers achieve trust by demonstrating concern, maintaining open communication, and behaving consistently. The final chapter by Roderick Kramer and Dana Gavrieli includes recently declassified data from secret conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and his advisors that provide a rich window into a leader's struggles with problems of trust and distrust in his administration. Broad in scope, Trust and Distrust in Organizations provides a captivating and insightful look at trust, power, and betrayal, and is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the underpinnings of trust within a relationship or an organization. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
Emotional Intelligence was an international phenomenon, appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and selling more than five million copies worldwide. Now, once again, Daniel Goleman has written a groundbreaking synthesis of the latest findings in biology and brain science, revealing that we are “wired to connect” and the surprisingly deep impact of our relationships on every aspect of our lives.

Far more than we are consciously aware, our daily encounters with parents, spouses, bosses, and even strangers shape our brains and affect cells throughout our bodies—down to the level of our genes—for good or ill. In Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explores an emerging new science with startling implications for our interpersonal world. Its most fundamental discovery: we are designed for sociability, constantly engaged in a “neural ballet” that connects us brain to brain with those around us.

Our reactions to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins—and bad relationships like poisons. We can “catch” other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold, and the consequences of isolation or relentless social stress can be life-shortening. Goleman explains the surprising accuracy of first impressions, the basis of charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies. He describes the “dark side” of social intelligence, from narcissism to Machiavellianism and psychopathy. He also reveals our astonishing capacity for “mindsight,” as well as the tragedy of those, like autistic children, whose mindsight is impaired.

Is there a way to raise our children to be happy? What is the basis of a nourishing marriage? How can business leaders and teachers inspire the best in those they lead and teach? How can groups divided by prejudice and hatred come to live together in peace?

The answers to these questions may not be as elusive as we once thought. And Goleman delivers his most heartening news with powerful conviction: we humans have a built-in bias toward empathy, cooperation, and altruism–provided we develop the social intelligence to nurture these capacities in ourselves and others.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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