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    Social capital and social ties in organisations: a case study of two voluntary sports clubs

    Tacon, Richard (2019) Social capital and social ties in organisations: a case study of two voluntary sports clubs. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 39 (9/10), pp. 883-898. ISSN 0144-333X.

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    Purpose – If social capital is understood as the ability to access resources through social ties, it is clearly important to understand how people form social ties and what types of ties they form. Research has sought to do this, but it has seldom directly examined how organisations shape these processes and outcomes. This paper aims to do so. Design/methodology/approach – In-depth, comparative case study research was conducted at two voluntary sport organisations in the UK, involving 23 in-depth interviews and participant observation over a 15-month period. Findings – The case studies showed how key organisational practices structured, in meaningful ways, people’s opportunities for interaction and the nature of that interaction, shaping the ways in which they formed ties and exchanged resources. The organisations fostered the formation of both strong and weak ties, but also ‘compartmentally intimate’ ties. Research limitations/implications – The research challenges individualistic, rational-choice accounts of tie formation, highlighting the role of organisations as brokers. In addition, interviewees’ accounts challenge well-accepted distinctions between strong and weak ties, by demonstrating the importance of ongoing, context-specific interaction. Originality/value – This research offers a rare, direct insight into the role of organisations in shaping people’s ongoing social relationships. In doing so, it problematises existing conceptualisations of social capital and social ties and highlights an alternative, organisationally-embedded, process-based perspective on social capital.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Sport Business Centre
    Depositing User: Richard Tacon
    Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2019 05:48
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:54


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