Corporate Social Capital and Liability

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CSC: The Structure of Advantage and Disadvantage

  • Shaul M. Gabbay
  • , Roger T. A. J. Leenders

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Scholars of the firm have long concerned themselves with identifying the differential characteristics that make some firms—and some of their members— more successful than others. A recent approach to the study of success and failure in the competitive marketplace is the theory of social capital. The theory of social capital suggests that players gain access to various kinds of resources that accrue to them by virtue of their engagement in various kinds of relationships. Social capital theory is fundamentally concerned with the resources inherent within structures and social exchange. Until now, social capital theory has mainly been applied to individual actors—human beings. In this volume the central question is how is social structure related to the attainment of goals of corporations and their members (denoted below by the terms ‘corporate players’ or ‘corporate actors’)? We suggest that Corporate Social Capital refers to the resources, inherent in the social structure, that accrue to corporate actors. Social structure refers to a network of actors who are in some way connected via a set of relationships.