Developing Social Capital

socialcapitalThis event, attended by University of Westminster staff as well as network members, was led by Ian Cunningham, and provided an insight into the emerging concept of Social Capital.

Social capital is the resource that resides in the relationships within an organisation and is based on social virtues like honesty, reciprocity, keeping commitments, sharing ideas and information, providing emotional support and sharing goodwill.

It is the concept that many businesses are worth more than the value of their traditional assets due to the “People” capital.
Over the years the radius of trust in society has reduced from community to family; for example we no longer automatically “look out” for one another leading to increases in crime and the introduction of formal schemes such as neighbourhood watch as a response.

This concept is now being applied within organisations, with strategies to increase collaboration and trust being applied as they make organisations more effective and the therefore increase their value.

The discussion was wide ranging, covering historical analogies, reductionism, Rudyard Kipling, individualism vs. individuality, culture, opportunity and constraint structures, the centrality of vision and values.  We ended by considering the ways of increasing social capital within organisations, which is where Self Managed Learning can play an important role.

Unfortunately space does not allow me to describe the event in detail; if you would like to know more about Social Capital, Ian Cunningham would be pleased to hear from you.

Liz Barlow

12th June 2001- University of Westminster