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The measurement of social capital in the entrepreneurial context

Ferri, Paul and Deakins, David and Whittam, Geoff (2009) The measurement of social capital in the entrepreneurial context. Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, 3 (2). pp. 138-151.

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Abstract

Whilst all models of the entrepreneurial process identify the role of networking as important at both the start-up and developmental stage of a business latterly these models have expanded the notion of networking and embraced the concept of social capital. However, much of the literature on measuring social capital has focussed on the quantity of social capital within a given geographical space. This paper seeks to expand this research by examining the depth and richness of social capital for new venture creation and thereby identifying the impact of social capital in new venture creation. Current research has tended to be quantitative, for example the World Values Survey. However, 2001 there is a need to explore the value of social capital in the entrepreneurial process. This paper presents a critical review of the existing literature on measuring social capital in the entrepreneurial process. It is anticipated that the research will reveal rich, contextual information which will identify the need to investigate social capital from a qualitative perspective. The paper's examination of the social capital literature thus far, although not exhaustive, has noted the emergence of several common themes that associate the issues of measurement with lack of empirical consensus on an accepted definition of social capital. Policy makers charged with developing an entrepreneurial culture and the establishment of new ventures, might wish to look at encouraging both nascent and existing entrepreneurs to exploit their formal and informal network relationships, seeking the development of organisations and institutions that will assist in building social capital. This paper contributes to the existing literature in emphasising the necessity of understanding the “measurement” of intangible factors in understanding social capital in the entrepreneurial process.