Abstract

It appears on the surface that researchers agree on the positive effect of social capital on performance, because it offers access to new or different resources (e.g., Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). However, when drilling deeper, we find indications that this depends on the context (Rowley, 2000) and social capital might as well have negative aspects (Gargiulo & Benassi, 1999; Adler & Kwon, 2002). The overall findings of empirical research investigating social capital performance effects are fragment and specific mechanisms remain opaque. We use a meta-analytic approach to assess the relationship of inter-organizational social capital with performance as well as those of its sub-dimensions (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998) structural capital (overall pattern of relations) and relational capital (kind of relations). Moreover, we investigate moderators of the relationship that depict if social capital and its sub-dimensions are helpful in addressing liabilities of newness (Stinchcombe, 1965) and contrast these with their potential to address liabilities of smallness (Auster & Aldrich 1986, Baum, 1996).

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