There has been considerable and increasing interest in social capital theory in recent years, evidenced by its application to various disciplines and numerous subject areas. This interest stems from the appeal of the concept as it integrates sociology and economics, and combines a number of ideas including civic tradition, civicness, civic involvement and social cohesion. Existing studies have suggested that social capital has considerable benefits for a range of economic and sociological outcomes. These purported benefits, and the concept behind social capital, are not new but rooted in the work of early economic and sociologic thinkers. The contemporary authors, who are responsible for bringing the social capital debate to its current popularity, include Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman and Robert Putnam. Many authors have since contributed to the rudimentary conceptualization of the complex theory.
There is no set and commonly agreed upon definition of social capital and the particular definition adopted by a study will depend on the discipline and level of investigation. There is still debate over the appropriateness of the term ‘capital’ and this has led to a general weakening of the conceptualization. These definitional and ideological problems have resulted in considerable diversity in theory, particularly in discussion of dimensions, levels, types, determinants, benefits, and downsides. The result is a number of conceptualization approaches, each attempting to simplify the complex social world while maintaining validity. The result to date has largely been poor operationalization of the concept that lacks rigor and strong theoretical links to a thorough conceptualization of social capital. Of particular interest to this study is the interaction of social capital and natural resource management. Few authors have previously made this connection with the most closely related work being on environmental management and development.
If you are new to social capital theory, you likely have many questions. The below articles will be very helpful to help you gain an understanding of this topic.
Dimensions – Structural, cognitive, relational social capital
- Structural, cognitive, relational social capital
- What is Structural Social Capital?
- What is Cognitive Social Capital?
- What is Relational Social Capital?
Functions – Bonding, bridging, linking social capital
- What is the difference between bonding and bridging social capital?
- What is Bonding Social Capital?
- What is Bridging Social Capital?
- What is Linking Social Capital?
- Approaches to conceptualise bonding/bridging social capital
- What are the different types of social capital?
- Explanation of the different levels of social capital
- Examples of social capital
- Criticisms of social capital theory
- Bourdieu on social capital – theory of capital
- Coleman on social capital – rational-choice approach
- Putnam on social capital – democratic or civic perspective
Measurement of social capital
Articles on social capital
- Is social capital declining? Is society a waste land or just different?
- The future of management: The empowered employee or adult day care?
- Overcoming negative organisational culture
- Social Capital Impact Statements: Avoid unwitting damage to social capital
- How do new employees learn about your organisational culture? What does this mean for social capital?
- Social sanctions and reputation in the workplace
- Valuing success in the organisation: The tall poppy and the back slap
- The “alpha” employee: can one employee derail (or rail) your organisational culture?
- The objectionist, the status quo, and change within organisations
- The empathy-challenged employee: a growing problem?
- Using employee surveys to measure social capital in your organisation
- Has economic rationalism destroyed social capital in our workplaces?
- Is corruption a dark side of social capital? Correlation or causality?
- Social Capitalism, Capitalism, and Social Capital
- Corporate social capital, the true value of a successful company
- Career advice for the modern age – build your social capital
- The cultural context of social capital
- Grabbing at the wind: the powerful forces of social capital
- How is social capital destroyed?
- How does one obtain social capital?
- Why is social capital so important?
- How do you increase your social capital?
- What is low social capital?
- Is the use of personal mobile devices eroding the public sphere?
Citing this article
This article is part of a thesis submitted to the University of Queensland, Australia. You should reference this work as:
Claridge, T., 2004. Social Capital and Natural Resource Management: An important role for social capital? Unpublished Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.