Corporate Responsibility and Society: The Idea of Social Capital
Definition of Social Capital
Social capital is an economic idea that refers to the connections between individuals and entities that can be economically valuable. Social networks that include people who trust and assist each other can be a powerful asset. These relationships between individuals and firms can lead to a state in which each will think of the other when something needs to be done. Along with economic capital, social capital is a valuable mechanism in economic growth.
There are two main theoretical approaches to SC:
* The sociological perspective
* Political science research perspective
Putnam's concept of social capital has three components: moral obligations and norms, social values (especially trust) and social networks (especially voluntary associations)
1. The lack of awareness of the structural socio-economic conditions.
2. The excessive determinism of the historical analysis.
SC is not identifiable as a unique aspect of one’s social life, but rather it is composed by the elements related to the social structure, and at the same time by everything that facilitates the actions of an agent within the social structure. In other words, SC “is defined by its function” more than by its nature (Coleman 1988:98, 1990:302).
From the Social Capital theory toward the Corporate Social Responsibility concept
* Cognitive SC, understood as dispositions, is an input of CSR
* The adoption of an explicit CSR standard generates cognitive SC, in terms of beliefs
* CSR create the economic incentives that induce the firm to completely fulfil its commitments towards all its stakeholders
* Putnam, R.D., (with Leonardi, R. and Nanetti, R.) 1993. Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, NJ.
* Coleman, J....