Social Capital; A Perspective On Organizational Development

By Martin Ndichu
Social capital

Social Capital is almost a new concept in modern organizations, this is despite its long existence. Social capital refers to the networks, institutions and norms that mark and define the quality and quantity of interactions within individuals in a society, organization, project or business. In this context, social capital does not account for players within the network but acts to glue them together. It is evident that cohesion within any organization is a vital component for development and sustainability of that organization. This is mainly because of the effect it has on the degree of association of individuals or players within that organization or network.

There are several attributes that constitute social capital, these include; Trust, Reciprocity, Appreciation, Acceptance and tolerance among others. These attributes of social capital have an effect on organizational productivity and well-being of individual players and reduces the costs of doing business by facilitating coordination and cooperation within the organization. Trust among individuals within any context is vital in promoting transparency while on the other hand reciprocity of goodwill encourages continuity of healthy interrelations; it also eliminates the feeling of abuse among partners. Acceptance and tolerance of individuals within an organization regardless of educational background or qualification, disability, societal branding, race or religious affiliation goes a long way to promote self-esteem, self worth and organizational ownership by the individuals.

So what’s the impact of Social Capital on organizations? True to my word, organizations that nurture high-quality social capital have staffs and partners that demonstrate a high sense of obligation towards the organizations and collectively engage in the attainment of the ultimate goal of the organization. Such organizations experience low staff and partner turn over which in turn increases the prospect of success. On the contrary, organizations with little or no social capital exhibits low growth, poorly motivated staff with a high element of self centeredness. They worry much on what they get in return of their service to the organization than on the welfare of his fellows or the organization. This has the effect on the organization security both internally and externally, simply because most of the individual/partners may be unwilling to stand by the organization when it faces challenges of different kinds.

Building social capital can be fun and disappointing at the same time. This is mainly because it comes with a strong element of expectation. This is mutual, so as a leader in any organization as much as you would want to grow social capital within your fellows or partners ensure that the benefits accrued are mutual such that no one feels abused. Learn to note actions by your partners that desire your reciprocity and promptly act back. As an organization, appreciate the little efforts made on daily basis by your staffs because they may end up being the best they ever do before stagnating due to unmet expectations. Building social capital could constitute a big budgets such as increase in remuneration, luxury holiday and excursions, but could also be done in simple ways in the day to day operation of the organization. Try volunteering your special skills to an organization, mentor someone of a different ethnic or religious group, avoid gossip, Say “Thanks” to colleagues and support staff and the likes.

To pen off, a message to managers and officers in charge of project, human resource, public relations, chairpersons of youth groups, women groups, CBOs, NGOs, aspiring entrepreneurs and other organizations in general government included; observe the element of social capital within your networks and you will not have to worry about how to meet your goal, how you will accomplish your tasks or with whom to share your plans. Caution though, social capital is an investment of a kind so invest wisely and please have a fair interest rate that won’t hurt incase of bad debt!!…won’t you? All the best.      

 

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Matthew McLaughlin
    May 08, 2014 @ 01:27:41

    If you are really interested in learning more about this topic, you need to check out Putnam’s books. buildingpurpose.com

    Like

    Reply

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