Dear Harry:

I'm wondering what your assumptions are about what constitutes social
capital. Would you be willing to chat about that?


Patricia Sachs

>Dear SOCNETters,
>I am doing research on the social capital of groups of individuals
>who work together.  My study focuses on Episcopal Church vestries,
>which are governing boards for individual congregations.  My
>theoretical framework ties network closure and cohesion with regard
>to (1) ideological agreement and (2) the extent of friendly and
>long-lasting ties among group members to group-level social capital,
>and then ties group-level social capital to group performance.  I'm
>hoping that the subscribers to the listserv might be willing to help
>me with a couple of questions:
>1.  The vestries have 8-15 members each.  To do
>whole-network/vestry/group measures I obviously need a high response
>rate from each network/vestry/group.  The data is quite sensitive
>and somewhat difficult to collect.  From a research standpoint, is
>there a minimum number of groups needed to do meaningful cross-group
>comparisons?  How do you account for non-respondents in data
>2.  Another data-collection idea is to ask individual vestry members
>questions like "Who agrees with each other with regard to theology?"
>and ask respondents to assess whether member A agrees with members
>B, C, D, etc (and B with C, D, etc.)--and so respondents would
>assess such agreement for every possible dyad within the group.
>(Member A would be the respondent, allowing for ego-centric measures
>as well.)  Have other researchers tried this sort of approach?  Is
>it a valid way of gathering data about the social structures of a
>particular group?  And finally, has anyone studied whether one's
>position within a particular group affects his or her responses to
>such questions (for example, do more central or more isolated people
>differ in some sort of predictable way in their perceptions about
>who is connected to who in the group?)?
>I'm grateful for any advice you can provide.  Thanks in advance--
>Harry Van Buren
>Doctoral student, University of Pittsburgh (Katz Graduate School of Business)
>Visiting Instructor, University of Northern Iowa
>319.273.2020 telephone
>319.273.2922 facsimile
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Work Systems Innovation & Design
Patricia Sachs, PhD
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