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Dear SOCNET'ers,

I am trying to put together a symposium session for the upcoming Academy of Management Conference (Aug. 5-10 2005, Honolulu, HI). Working title of the session is "Social capital implications of electronic communication: A detailed look". You can find a brief tentative description of the session below.

Please contact me if you are working on a related topic and would consider participating in this symposium. (The format is similar to a paper session where each participant presents their work, and the session  ends with a Q&A.)

Have a great weekend!

Best regards,


Symposium: Social capital implications of electronic communication: A detailed look

This session will provide an in-depth look into the ways in which electronic communication impacts all aspects of social capital. Social capital residing in communities of practice, produces behavioral changes that improve business performance (Lesser and Storck, 2001). The density and structure of a social network affects the level of social capital created (Adler & Kwon, 2000). The level of social capital, in turn, affects strength of connections, extent of trust and cooperative norms that influence knowledge sharing (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1999). Given the increase in geographical distribution within an organization and the growth in the number of knowledge based firms, it becomes harder for organizations to create and nurture their social capital and to use it as a motivation and control system. This symposium will be a conversation on how electronic communication and information sharing systems can help alleviate this problem.

Given the three-dimensional view of social capital: structural, cognitive and relational, how do different information systems and/or electronic communication acts/tools/etc. affect each of these dimensions? For instance, in terms of structural dimension, how do design variables, tools provided, or even a mere existence of an intranet or any other communication tool impact the network structure in an organization or a group? In a related manner, what would the specific impacts of electronic communication tools be on cognitive (e.g. shared mental models) and relational (e.g. reciprocity, trust) dimensions?

The overall purpose of this session is to look at the mechanisms decreasing or increasing social capital with use of electronic communication. The presenters will discuss the value of electronic communication to maintain social networks and actions to take to develop trust and norms of cooperation within these networks.


Zeynep Aksehirli
Visiting Assistant Professor of Management
Tuck School at Dartmouth College
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