Socially Advantaged? How Social Affiliations Influence Access to Valuable Service Professional Transactions

In Strategic Management Journal (2019), 40(13): 2287-2314

52 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2018 Last revised: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Timothy Gubler

Timothy Gubler

Brigham Young University

Ryan Cooper

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Date Written: July 19, 2019

Abstract

This paper theorizes that social capital produced by social affiliations allows service professionals to gain access to higher-value transactions through increased reputation for trustworthiness, which then aids them in further building reputation and engaging in entrepreneurship. Using a unique approach that pairs Utah residential real estate data with church congregation boundaries, we find that affiliations enable real estate agents to list 14 percent more expensive homes, and to consequently build reputation useful for future non-affiliated transactions. We observe large reputation-building benefits for early-career agents, particularly for agents in low-reputation firms. Strikingly, we find this lowers entrepreneurship entry by 6 percent. These results imply that social affiliations can substitute for reputation in selection, enabling professionals to build reputation, which then has important career implications.

Keywords: social capital, relational capital, human capital, professional services, entrepreneurship, social embeddedness, real estate

Suggested Citation

Gubler, Timothy and Cooper, Ryan, Socially Advantaged? How Social Affiliations Influence Access to Valuable Service Professional Transactions (July 19, 2019). In Strategic Management Journal (2019), 40(13): 2287-2314, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3132034 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3132034

Timothy Gubler (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

Ryan Cooper

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States

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