1 Department of Management, Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Management, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
The importance and usefulness of social capital as a concept in the study of organizations have been established by a large body of research. The aim of this paper is to review the concept of social capital in an organizational context, and identifying five main issues that need to be addressed in future research before social capital can move definitively beyond being merely a metaphor for advantage. First, the unresolved issue of causality is a barrier in the study of social structure and social capital alike, and hampers both measuring scales and implications drawn from empirical research. Secondly, it is necessary to determine whether social capital can or should be measured. Thirdly, the negative aspects of social capital should be explored and integrated into the existing research. Fourthly, the field between social capital of the individual and organizational social capital lacks a consistent, bridging theory. Finally, there is a lack of understanding on how social capital develops over time and the potential benefits of taking a life-cycle view of social capital. In conclusion, the field of social capital in organizations still needs a consistent and coordinated research effort in each of the mentioned areas - separately and concurrently - in order to move beyond structure and metaphor.