Assessing the Social Capital Construct: New Evidence on its Multidimensionality (pp. 65-88)
Authors: (Gloria Parra-Requena, Job Rodrigo-Alarcón and Pedro Manuel Garcia-Villaverde, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)
Abstract: The literature on social capital has burgeoned in recent years, including a large number of papers that highlight the influence of social capital on competitive advantage generation, business performance and competitiveness (Tsai and Ghoshal, 1998; Yli-Renko, Autio and Sapienza, 2001, Ramström, 2008; among others). However, the literature identifies relevant issues which are unresolved and subject to extensive discussion among researchers, such as the one-dimensional or multidimensional nature of the social capital construct and the need to study in greater depth the relationships between social capital and new strategic factors (Wu, 2008). This study aims to fill in the gap on dimensionality questions concerning the social capital construct. Thus, our goal is to determine its dimensionality and to explore the appropriate level of disaggregation to analyze the construct. To do this, we review the approaches provided in the literature and we test empirically the one- or multidimensional character of social capital on a sample of 224 firms in the footwear industry of Spain. The obtained results allow us to verify the multidimensional nature of social capital. Thus, we obtain clear results that suggest a multidimensionality formed not by the three dimensions expected, following the classification of Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), but by five dimensions. Two of the traditional dimensions of Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998) are thereby disaggregated into two different sub-dimensions. Our results therefore allow a better understanding of the nature of this concept by exploring more deeply its internal coherence. With this work we contribute to the existing literature, substantiating the definition of social capital as a multidimensional construct. We support the need for a multidimensional analysis in order to achieve an accurate and suitable understanding of the construct and its effects.
We therefore propose that future work focus closely upon the effects of the different dimensions of social capital on variables such as strategic behavior, innovation or performance, among others.