IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Impact of Social Capital on Ideation

Listed author(s):
  • Jennie Björk
  • Fausto Di Vincenzo
  • Mats Magnusson
  • Daniele Mascia
Registered author(s):

    This paper examines the impact of social capital on the quality of ideas generated by individuals at work. Two dimensions of social capital are investigated—the degree (i.e. size) of individuals' networks of ideation relations, and the structural holes (i.e. gaps between nodes) of those relations. Previous research has presented different and even conflicting empirical results concerning the effect of structural holes on innovation activities, and has not dealt specifically with the ideation phase of the innovation process. By drawing upon an idea database from a Swedish company that has worked systematically with idea management for an extensive period, this study investigates the interrelationship between social capital and ideation. The empirical study reveals that the larger the size of an individual's ego network, the higher is this individual's innovative performance in terms of high-quality ideas, whereas the larger the number of structural holes in an ego network, the lower is the quality of ideas generated by the individual in question. These findings support the conclusion that social capital, in terms of individuals' relationships with fellow employees within firms, has a positive influence on idea-generating behavior. Moreover, the results reveal that the presence of structural holes is negative for ideation performance, thus providing important new input to the recent debate on the interrelationship between structural holes and innovation in general.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Industry and Innovation.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 6 (August)
    Pages: 631-647

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:18:y:2011:i:6:p:631-647
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2011.591976
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:18:y:2011:i:6:p:631-647. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.