Connective Capital as Social Capital: The Value of Problem-Solving Networks for Team Players in Firms

53 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2010 Last revised: 6 Sep 2010

See all articles by Casey Ichniowski

Casey Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kathryn L. Shaw

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 2009

Abstract

Traditional human capital theory emphasizes a worker's investment in knowledge. However, when a worker is faced with day-to-day problems on the job, the solutions to the problems often require more knowledge from a team of experts within the firm. When a worker taps into the knowledge of experts, the worker develops his "connective capital." Firms that value problem solving highly will develop the human resource management practices that support the environment of sharing knowledge. Data from the steel industry displays these concepts. For seven large steel mills, we gather data on the communications networks of steelworkers. The data shows that networks are exceedingly diverse across mills, and that the mills that have human resource management practices that support teamwork are the mills that have with much more dense high-volume communications links among workers. That is, workers in team-orientated mills have much higher levels of personal connective capital used for problem-solving.

Suggested Citation

Ichniowski, Bernard E. (Casey) and Shaw, Kathryn L., Connective Capital as Social Capital: The Value of Problem-Solving Networks for Team Players in Firms (December 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15619. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1547629

Bernard E. (Casey) Ichniowski (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kathryn L. Shaw

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
27
Abstract Views
358
PlumX Metrics