Those connections rely on social relationships developed prior to the . closure. The social closure potential of immigrant networks can be a. Structural Holes versus Network Closure as Social Capital. .. To look for patterns in the relationship between all 4 capitals within bounded groups or networks. prediction that network closure creates social capital. . where Y is the value of building a strong relationship across a structural hole and X is the number of.
People are less likely to gain new information if they participate in networks that are characterized by redundant connections or strong interlocking ties i. Granovetter [ 35 ] showed that a person's close friends rarely knew more than that person did, so strong network ties served to replicate practice and preserve the status quo.
Network Approach to Social Capital Theory
Rogers [ 7 ] calls close ties "an interlocking personal network" and notes that "such an ingrown system is an extremely poor net in which to catch new information from one's environment" p. Strong network ties with family and close friends can however, provide more intense support and possibly a greater role in emotional wellbeing [ 35 ].
Similarly, bonding social capital refers to strong ties and affliations, but these ties can be a form of social control if the group confers sanctions when individuals do not conform to network norms.
Ostracization can limit access to support, information, or other essential resources.
Burt [ 32 ] describes structural holes as buffers that insulate networks from one another so that people may remain focused on their specialized tasks. Professional specialization has resulted in health systems that are rife with structural holes. While the ability to focus on areas of specialization may benefit from structural holes, systems that are full of holes may expose people to "differing and inconsistent expectations among multiple constituencies" [ 28 ].
In such contexts, it can be difficult to build the cohesion necessary to implement strategic reforms. Burt [ 32 ] advocates maximizing the value of structural holes by facilitating opportunities for individuals to build formal, unique ties beyond the group i. In health care organizations, natural boundaries exist between specialist medical teams and units, but increasingly, the care of patients with complex morbidities depends on the flow of knowledge across closely bonded networks.
Those individuals in boundary spanning roles who operate in the structural holes between teams have 'cross-cutting ties' and credibility with individuals in other networks to broker new ideas and contribute to knowledge exchange. Reforms that require people to adopt new ideas might therefore benefit from tinkering with structures to build bridging ties within or between networks for people immersed in specialized professional activities.
It is important to note that it is not just the existence of bridging ties or brokers that facilitate the uptake of new information but the quality of those ties.
For the past several years, the Canadian Health Services Foundation has been active in its support for the concept of knowledge brokers. The success of funded knowledge broker pilot projects is just beginning to be recognized [ 39 ].
People who occupy structurally equivalent positions may not be directly linked with one another but tend to adopt new ideas at a similar level of exposure [ 238 ]. This is important for administrators and decision-makers because the application of structural equivalence comes into play when planning how to, and who should, introduce new ideas.
These are important decisions to achieve buy-in for adopting change. Cognitive determinants such as personal beliefs and team norms influence decisions about adopting new ideas and current research-based evidence. Studies show people prefer to use interpersonal and interactive sources of knowledge such as talking to others who they consider trustworthy, knowledgeable and credible to obtain advice, information or confirm their opinions rather than written sources which are more often used to disseminate research findings [ 41 - 43 ].
Deciding what to do is influenced by others who have similar characteristics and who have previously adopted the new knowledge in a successful manner. Quite simply, physicians are more likely to adopt a change in practice i. This lends theoretical support for the notion that it is crucial to identify the influential champions or peer opinion leaders who are credible with different professional groups to diffuse new ideas.
They are trusted, credible individuals who influence the exchange and utilization of research-evidence across networks in organizations. Opinion leaders play a brokering role to accelerate diffusion and transmit information 'by contagion' across boundaries between groups and networks [ 4344 ].
Explanation of types of social capital - Social Capital Research & Training
Moreover, individuals with greater interconnectedness across networks typically exhibit greater innovative capacity [ 7 ]. These and related concepts provide insight into patterns that exist within networks and draw attention to the influence of structure on behaviour.
However, a number of common misconceptions exist that limit the application of a network approach and enable progress from awareness to action.
Therefore, we consider six differing perspectives that underpin common misconceptions in the next section. Dispel common misconceptions of networks In order to apply a network approach, we must first critically appraise differing perspectives to move beyond the limited conceptualizations of networks.
As an example, we consider six differing perspectives that underpin common misconceptions: The first perspective is that networks are synonymous with organizations [ 22 ]. We argue that organizations may encompass many different kinds of ties, such as bonding, bridging and linking ties that exist among individuals and groups with other organizations e.
It is a misnomer to label an organization as a singular network. Similarly, networks may form among clinical colleagues for many different reasons e. When new organizations are formed with the purpose of connecting people and organizations that are addressing similar issues e. The second perspective we challenge is that networks are horizontal, non-hierarchical structures [ 45 ].
Social ties take a range of forms, some of which may be hierarchical e. In some instances it may be possible to pre-determine the structure that ties will take but that is not always the case e.
A third perspective is that networks are based on voluntary participation [ 46 ]. In loosely connected networks, individuals may or may not be aware they are part of an extensive network e. By way of contrast, participation in a dense network is usually obvious e. In some instances, membership may be mandated to the point of coercion e.
Another misconception is that networks have decentralized power structures [ 2245 ]. On the contrary, one of the strengths of a network approach is the ability to identify and analyze, not hide, power within networks. Some measures of network centrality are specifically used to determine the relative power of units within a network [ 25 ]. Another perspective that networks are member controlled and regulated must be challenged [ 2245 ].
The notion of member control is intriguing as it implies a formal structure somewhat akin to the notion of networks as organizations.
This level of formality is often not the case and therefore regulation of who is in and who is out is not always feasible. Another perspective is that networks are static so individuals can only be members of one network.
- Social structure perspective
- Network perspective
- Network Approach to Social Capital Theory
But in reality, individuals can be members of many networks such as with family, friends, in their neighborhood, and workplace. In the workplace, it is possible to be a member of more than one network, such as the case of nurse educators who are responsible for two to three patient care units, or nurses who are members of the organization-wide smokers network while also being network members in the patient care unit where they work [ 47 ].
These perspectives and assumptions about networks are just a few that permeate the health services literature and limit the transformation from awareness to application action of a network approach.
In the next section, we apply some of the key network concepts to demonstrate the benefits of a social structural network approach to primary healthcare reform. Applying key concepts to primary care networks in Alberta There is widespread agreement that health system redesign must involve increased emphasis on the provision of health services through primary healthcare models [ 2048 - 51 ].
In Alberta, as elsewhere, increased emphasis on primary healthcare is based on the understanding that effective models address gaps in health service delivery by coordinating, linking and mobilizing health services to meet the needs of patients [ 5253 ]. A strengthened primary healthcare system is proposed as one mechanism to address limited access to family physicians and fewer medical students choosing to practice family medicine [ 525455 ].
Current strategies to strengthen primary healthcare concentrate on the establishment of contractual arrangements between primary care providers, for example between physician groups and Regional Health Authorities, and the implementation of integrated systems for the delivery of primary healthcare services [ 5355 ].
These strategies are evident in Primary Care Networks in Alberta. The Master Agreement contains four strategic physician agreements, one of which is the Primary Care Initiative Agreement. It is proposed that through these Primary Care Networks, comprehensive primary healthcare services will be provided to defined patient populations.
Throughout the province of Alberta, over eighteen Primary Care Networks are currently operating or are under development. While the term "network" is being used in planning documents related to this initiative, there is not explicit detail about building capacity in the key concept areas of strength of weak ties, cross-cutting ties and structural equivalence influential peers.Social Capital -- the critical assets for success. - Sadhana Pasricha - TEDxWilmington
Physician Alliances There is much variation in family practice models [ 56 ] and it is therefore anticipated that there will be variation in physician alliance models and, by extension, in Primary Care Networks. Physician alliances are formed when a number of practice units develop a loose organizational structure to coordinate and integrate services for their patients as well as people who live in a particular geographic catchment area.
Networks and social capital: a relational approach to primary healthcare reform
Alliances are based on agreements among family physicians that provide similar services for their patient populations. The agreements ensure autonomy of each physician's practice while serving to coordinate and integrate client records, clinical care for unattached patients, urgent care services and to promote the health of the population. As each practice remains autonomous, the creation of governance and communication structures is essential to facilitate decision-making and ongoing working relationships within the alliance and within the region [ 57 ].
Weaker ties between networks foster the exchange of knowledge from other areas which improves the information used in the network to serve their patient population.
The social capital norms of cooperation, credibility and cohesion further sustain these effective relational ties. Sustainable physician alliances are central to the successful operation of Primary Care Networks [ 5859 ]. Read more about linking social capital. Social structure perspective Although it is possible to distinguish between different types of social capital on the basis of source, cognitive and structural forms of social capital are commonly connected and mutually reinforcing.
Structural social capital — refers to elements of social structure that create opportunities for the social realisation of productive ends.
It gives structure and stability to social transactions. It is more than norms, structural social capital is built from the historical foundations of culture and institutions within society.
Relational social capital — is based on the characteristics of social relationships between individuals and is commonly described as including trust and trustworthiness. These classifications of social capital into types provides a rich and descriptive way to talk about social capital. The network types and the structural types provide two different ways to describe elements of social capital and can be used interchangeably. Types of social capital Click here for further discussion of social capital types from a more academic perspective written by me in The structural perspective has become the dominant conceptualisation of social capital, although many authors still make reference to network types.
Structural dimension of social capital The structural dimension of social capital relates to the properties of the social system, the various forms of social organisation that make up society.
The structural dimension of social capital is a construct of society, thus it is social organisation. Rules, roles, etc mostly resides in our minds we have common understanding of the rules, roles, etc although some aspects are obvious from the institutions and the documents they create. Common understanding is frequently hard to articulate in precise language but is intuitively understood by actors embedded in the social context.
Read more about structural social capital. It is the shared representations, interpretations, and systems of meaning among parties. It predisposes people to collective action. It includes common understandings, shared language, shared purpose, and belonging. Common values and beliefs provide the harmony of interests that reduce the possibility of opportunistic behaviour.
While the structural dimension can be observed in tangible roles, rules, etc, the cognitive dimension is intangible as it relates to interpretations of what is appropriate, and attitudes and beliefs, ie what people think and how people feel.
Read more about cognitive social capital. Relational dimension of social capital The relational dimension of social capital relates to the personal relationships people have developed with each other through a history of interactions, and the nature of these relationships. It is the assets created or leveraged through relationships. The key factors of the relational dimension of social capital are trust and trustworthiness, norms and sanctions, obligations and expectations, and identity and identification.
This is not to be confused with similar factors of the cognitive dimension since in the relational dimension they are embedded in, or relate specifically to, social relationships. Read more about relational social capital.