Measurement of an individual entrepreneur’s social capital: a multidimensional model

  • Mariel Fornoni
  • Iván ArribasEmail author
  • José E. Vila


The aim of this paper is twofold. First of all, we participate in the open discussion on the nature of social capital and we show that the one-dimensional approach is not enough to capture the complex nature of social capital. Second, we present, implement and validate a specific three-dimensional measurement tool that can be used to analyze the role of social capital in further entrepreneurship research. The measurement tool is implemented through a Structural Equation Model, which is estimated and validated from a database including information from 282 Argentinean entrepreneurs who answered a questionnaire specifically designed for this research. Our measurement model considers the dimensions proposed by Koka and Prescott (Strategic Management Journal, 23:795–816, 2002), i.e. relational, resources and structural.


Entrepreneur Social capital Measurement model Structural equation model 



Iván Arribas and José Vila thank both the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology, and European Feder Funds for financial support under projects SEJ2007-66581 and ECO-2010-20584.


  1. Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M., & Savona, M. (2010). Policies to enhance the ‘hidden innovation’ in services: evidence and lessons from the UK. Service Industries Journal, 30(1), 99–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahuja, G. (2000). Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: a longitudinal study. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45, 425–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alpkan, L., Bulut, C., Gunday, G., Ulusoy, G., & Kilic, K. (2010). Organizational support for intrepreneurship and its interaction with human capital to enhance innovative performance. Management Decision, 48(5), 732–755.Google Scholar
  4. Arribas, I., & Vila, J. E. (2010). Guanxi management in Chinese entrepreneurs: a network approach. Working paper 8, BBVA Foundation, Bilbao, Spain.Google Scholar
  5. Baregheh, A., Rowley, J., & Sambrook, S. (2009). Towards a multidisciplinary definition of innovation. Management Decision, 47(8), 1323–1339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Batjargal, B. (2003). Social capital and entrepreneurial performance in Russia: a longitudinal study. Organization Studies, 24, 535–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bonet, F. J. P., Peris-Ortiz, M., & Gil-Pechuan, I. (2010). Integrating transaction cost economics and the resource-based view in services and innovation. Service Industries Journal, 30(5), 701–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, B., & Butler, J. (1995). Competitors as allies: a study of entrepreneurial networks in the U.S wine industry. Journal of Small Business Management, 33, 57–66.Google Scholar
  9. Burt, R. (1992). Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Burt, R. (1997). The contingent value of social capital. Administrative Science Quaterly, 42, 339–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coleman, J. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Comeche, J. M., & Loras, J. (2010). The influence of variables of attitude on collective Entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 6(1), 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fornoni, M., Arribas, I., & Vila, J. E. (2011). An entrepreneur’s social capital and performance: the role of access to information in the Argentinean case. Journal of Change Management, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  14. Gulati, R. (1995). Social structure and alliance formation patterns: a longitudinal analysis. Administrative Science Quaterly, 40, 619–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gulati, R., Nohria, N., & Zaheer, A. (2000). Strategic networks. Strategic Management Journal, 21, 203–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jöreskog, K. (1973). A general method for estimating a linear structural equiation system. In A. S. Goldberger & O. D. Duncan (Eds.), Structural equation models in the social sciences. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  17. Koka, B., & Prescott, J. (2002). Strategic alliances as social capital: a multidimensional view. Strategic Management Journal, 23, 795–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lin, N. (2001). Building a network theory of social capital. In N. Lin, R. Cook, & S. Burt (Eds.), Social capital: Theory and research. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  19. Lin, C. H. (2010). In search of e-service value: technology-exploitation vs. certainty-seeking online behaviours. Service Industries Journal, 30(8), 1377–1400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lin, N., Ensel, W., & Vaughn, J. (1981). Social resources and strength of ties: structural factors in occupational status attainment. American Sociological Review, 46, 393–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lin, E., Lin, T. M. Y., & Lin, B. W. (2010). New high-tech venturing as process of resource accumulation. Management Decision, 48(8), 1230–1246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meliá, M. R., Pérez, A. B., & Dobón, S. R. (2010). The influence of innovation orientation on the internationalisation of SMEs in the service sector. Service Industries Journal, 30(5), 777–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23, 242–266.Google Scholar
  24. OECD (2002). Social capital: The challenge of international measurement. London: Conference OCDE/ONS, (
  25. Powell, W., Koput, K., & Smith-Doerr, L. (1996). Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, 116–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ramírez, A. R., Orejuela, A. R., & Vargas, G. M. (2010). New perspectives for the managerial entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 6(2), 203–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Romero-Martínez, A. M., Ortiz-de-Urbina-Criado, M., & Soriano, D. R. (2010). Evaluating European Union support for innovation in Spanish small and medium enterprises. Service Industries Journal, 30(5), 671–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rubalcaba, L., Gallego, J., & Hertog, P. D. (2010). The case of market and system failures in services innovation. Service Industries Journal, 30(4), 549–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shan, W., Walter, G., & Kogut, B. (1994). Interfirm cooperation and startup innovation in the biotechnology industry. Strategic Management Journal, 15, 387–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smallbone, D., Welter, F., Voytovich, A., & Egorov, I. (2010). Government and entrepreneurship in transition economies: the case of small firms in business services in Ukraine. Service Industries Journal, 30(5), 655–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smeltzer, L., Van Hook, B., & Hutt, R. (1991). Analysis of the use of advisors as information sources in venture startups. Journal of Small Business Management, 29, 10–16.Google Scholar
  32. Sundbo, J. (2009). Innovation in the experience economy: a taxonomy of innovation organisations. Service Industries Journal, 29(4), 431–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Szreter, S. (2000). Social capital, the economy, and education in historical perspective. Social capital: Critical perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Tihula, S., & Huovinen, J. (2010). Incidence of teams in the firms owned by serial, portfolio and first-time entrepreneur. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 6(3), 249–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Toivonen, M., & Tuominen, T. (2009). Emergence of innovations in services. Service Industries Journal, 29(7), 887–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm networks. Academy of Management Journal, 41, 464–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Un, C. A., & Montoro-Sanchez, A. (2010). Public funding for product, process and organisational innovation in service industries. Service Industries Journal, 30(1), 133–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wagener, S., Gorgievski, M., & Rijsdijk, S. (2010). Businessman or host? Individual differences between entrepreneurs and small business owners in the hospitality industry. Service Industries Journal, 30(9), 1513–1527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wu, L. Y., Wang, C. J., Tseng, C. Y., & Wu, M. C. (2009). Founding team and start-up competitive advantage. Management Decision, 47(2), 345–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang, J., & Duan, Y. (2010). The impact of different types of market orientation on product innovation performance: Evidence from Chinese manufacturers. Management Decision, 48(6), 849–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariel Fornoni
    • 1
  • Iván Arribas
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • José E. Vila
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ManagementNational University of Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Department of Economic Analysis, ERI-CESUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Ivie, C/Guardia Civil, 22 esc 2 1ºValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations