New Article Forthcoming in Group & Organization Management

New Article Forthcoming in Group & Organization Management:

Relational enhancement: How the relational dimension of social capital unlocks the value of network-bridging ties

Daniel Z. Levin*, Jorge Walter**, Melissa M. Appleyard***, & Rob Cross****

* Rutgers University, ** The George Washington University, *** Portland State University, **** University of Virginia

We propose and test a novel approach to the dilemma that the very network-bridging structure most likely to provide access to novel knowledge may be ill-suited for the cooperation needed to successfully transfer that knowledge. We theorize that the relational dimension of social capital (e.g., tie strength) can act as a substitute for the structural benefits of network closure, and so a network-bridging tie yields more value when it is also strong. We further investigate if it is emotional closeness, interaction frequency, or trust that underlies this “relational enhancement” effect; our results identify the key mechanism as trust.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer, social capital, structural holes, tie strength, trust