Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Without each other, we have nothing - A state-of-the-art analysis on how to operationalize social capital

Weiler, Michael
Volume: 13
Number: 5
Pages: 1003 - 1035
Month: November
ISSN-Print: 1863-6683
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2019
Keywords: Social capital; Information systems; Operationalization; State-of-the-art; Literature review

The objective of this article is to review current empirical literature on social capital, a term that broadly refers to the valuable resources derived from interpersonal relations in social networks. A better understanding of this concept can advance research in many domains, particularly as they relate to topics affected by social ties and their embedded resources, such as knowledge sharing and Web 2.0. We examined quantitative studies from top-ranked business-oriented and sociological journals published prior to 2016 that proposed an operationalization of social capital. Based on these criteria, we identified 88 peer-reviewed studies that examine the effect of social capital in different areas. Our review confirms the concept’s basic tenet and shows that researchers from different domains link social capital to a variety of business-oriented and sociological phenomena. However, our state-of-the-art analysis also identifies certain shortcomings of recent social capital research. Thus, the article concludes with a discussion of the challenges inherent to this research stream and proposes some avenues for future growth. In addition, this article can serve a go-to resource for operationalizing social capital that considers the concept’s multidimensionality and provides valuable guidance to scholars looking to conduct their own research in this area.