Social Capital

Goals

To obtain a deep understanding of social capital including definitions used, results of primary research studies on social capital, the experts in the field, organizations that have social capital as a key outcome, how are these organizations build social capital within its operations, and what metrics are used to measure the impact/results, in order to learn more about who is working in the social capital space and how they are doing that. For the organizations, the focus should be on those aligned with employment, employability, education, and poverty (and intersection of the last two).

Early Findings

DEFINITIONS

  • Although there is not a single agreed upon definition for social capital, most definitions agree that the focus in on "social relations that have productive benefits."
  • This article provides 20 definitions of social capital that were used in various research studies from 1986 to 1999. The list was put together for a thesis that was written in 2004 so it is likely there are additional, more recent, definitions. The author of the thesis claimed that there is not a single agreed upon definition because it is very dependent on the discipline social capital is being looked at in relation to.
  • This same resource also provides a good starting point for finding primary research studies on social capital.

EXPERTS

  • Marlowe Stoudamire is an expert in social capital and has many media appearances to his credit.
  • Tom Forsell had a study published in 2018 titled "Development of a Scale to Measure Social Capital in Recreation and Sport Clubs." His recent exploration of the topic and subsequent publication of the results makes him an expert in the field.

ORGANIZATIONS

  • Union Capital Boston has social capital as a core piece of its mission. The bank allows members to earn social and financial rewards through community engagement, activism, and volunteerism.
  • MBank is a Polish bank that has social capital as a core piece of their business model. Some ways they manage social capital include surveying clients on satisfaction, simplifying agreements, communicating with empathy, and supporting mathematical education.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We propose continuing the research as follows: (1-2) There are a large number of research studies on social capital. We propose identifying 16-20 primary research studies from 2017 to 2019 that have been done on social capital. For each found we will provide the name of the study, the authors (as these would be experts), a brief 1-2 sentence description of what the study found, and the definition of social capital used in the study. (3) We propose compiling a list of 7-10 experts in the field of social capital. We propose defining experts as those with extensive experience in the field, those who are viewed as experts by a significant number of people, and/or those who have made substantial contributions to the field. We would ensure that none of the authors from the studies found in the above reports were repeated. For each expert we would explain why they are considered an expert, how they have contributed to the field of social capital. and provide 1-2 examples of articles they wrote or interviews they gave on the topic. (4-5) We propose identifying 4-6 organizations/companies that have social capital as a key outcome/core competency of their business. For each company identified, we propose providing the name of the company, how they build social capital, how it is a key component of their business, and how they measure the impact. We will aim to focus on companies aligned with employment, employability, education, and poverty (and intersection of the last two). Initial research showed these companies may be hard to find.
Alternatively, we can provide 2-3 case studies on organizations/companies that have social capital as a key outcome/core competency of their business. For each company identified, we propose providing the name of the company, how they build social capital, how it is a key component of their business, and how they measure the impact. We will aim to focus on companies aligned with employment, employability, education, and poverty (and intersection of the last two).