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On a Source of Social Capital: Gift Exchange

Abstract

The concept of social capital helps to explain relations within and between companies but has not crystallized yet. As such, the nature, development, and effects of such relations remain elusive. How is social capital created, how is it put to use, and how is it maintained? Can it decline, and if so, how? We argue that the concept of social capital remains a black box as the mechanisms that constitute it remain underdeveloped and that it is a black hole as many empirical phenomena are attributed to its presence. We use and develop the literature on gift exchange to provide a firmer theoretical basis for the concept of social capital.

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Dolfsma, W., van der Eijk, R. & Jolink, A. On a Source of Social Capital: Gift Exchange. J Bus Ethics 89, 315–329 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-008-0002-z

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Key words

  • social capital
  • social relations
  • gift exchange
  • trust
  • inclusion
  • exclusion