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Negative effects of the bonding and bridging form of social capital in a regional strategic network
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Business and Economic Studies, Business administration. Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7156-5020
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Business and Economic Studies, Business administration.
Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för ekonomi, samhälle och teknik.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6101-9237
2011 (English)In: The 27th IMP conference, 31 Aug 2011-03 Sep 2011; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose of the paper and literature addressed

Understanding the local socio-economic context is considered by Koschatzky and Kroll (2007) as a precondition for a well designed regional strategic network (RSN). Social capital is often used in research when analyzing such socio-economic contexts (Adler and Kwon 2002, Westlund 2009), and understanding the function and creation of social capital is therefore vital for implementation of policies on cluster initiatives and RSN.

Adler and Kwon (2002) claim that there are two different ways of creating valuethrough social capital. These approaches are attributed to James Coleman and Ronald Burt, two key contributors within the field. Coleman (1988) claims that closure of the network structure (bonding) facilitates the emergence of effective norms maintainingthe trustworthiness of others. In contrast to Coleman, Burt (1992) does not stress the utility of consistent norms as the main usage of social capital. He argues that a sparse network including few redundant ties (bridging) often provides greater benefits. Social capital may involve norms and trust, but can also serve as a lock-in that isolates from the outside world by over-embedding a network in its own social context (Uzzi 1997, Gargiulo and Benassi 2000, Parra-Requena et al 2009, Molina-Morales and Martínez-Fernández 2009).

Social capital might therefore not only bring positive effects to regional development, as its drawbacks under some circumstances might outweigh the benefits. Slotte-Kock (2009) argues that all network researchers agree that networks of social or business contacts provide both opportunities and constraints.

Main contribution

Molina-Morales and Martínez-Fernández (2009) and Adler and Kwon (2002) claim that there is a lack of empirical research particularly on the negative effects of social capital. The paper adds to the discourse through a case study focusing on the negative influence of social capital on the RSN process.

Research method

Representatives of the 15 companies included in an regional strategic network (RSN) project were all interviewed prior to the formation of the project in 2004 and interviewed again six years later (2010) when the formal network project was about to end. The longitudinal aspect of the RSN process is portrayed.

Research findings

The organizational lock-ins and network over-embeddedness that the bonding form of social capital might impose upon a network is exemplified in the studied RSN. It is also evident that existing social norms dominate the decision process within the studied RSN more than economic rationality. The creation of bridging linkages imposed by the management group resulting in low relevance of shared information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
Social capital, bridging, bonding, regional strategic networks, cluster initiatives
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-23093OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-23093DiVA: diva2:1057082
Conference
The 27th IMP conference, 31 Aug 2011-03 Sep 2011; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Available from: 2011-12-14 Created: 2016-12-16 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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