(When) Do Organizations Have Social Capital?

Posted: 3 Aug 2014

See all articles by Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

Michelle Rogan

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School; INSEAD

Date Written: July 2014


Interorganizational relationships connect people affiliated with organizations rather than corporate actors themselves. The managers and owners of organizations therefore do not always control these connections and consequently often cannot profit from them. We discuss the circumstances under which individuals (versus organizations) own these relationships (and therefore also the social capital generated by them). Three factors increase the odds of individual ownership: (a) the extent to which the resources valued by alters belong to the individual (rather than the organization), (b) the degree to which alters feel greater indebtedness to the individual than to the organization, and (c) the extent to which relationships involve emotional attachment. We discuss the implications of the locus of ownership, argue that these distinctions can help explain many results that appear inconsistent on the surface, and call for future research to pay closer attention to these issues.

Suggested Citation

Sorenson, Olav and Rogan, Michelle, (When) Do Organizations Have Social Capital? (July 2014). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 40, pp. 261-280, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2475571 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071913-043222

Olav Sorenson (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Michelle Rogan

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

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