Re: Social capital of groups
I'm wondering what your assumptions are about what constitutes
social capital. Would you be willing to chat about that?
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 analysis?
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
Harry Van Buren
Doctoral student, University of Pittsburgh (Katz Graduate School of
Visiting Instructor, University of Northern Iowa
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Work Systems Innovation & Design
Patricia Sachs, PhD
427 Casa del Mar Drive, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
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