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

Connective Capital as Social Capital: The Value of Problem-Solving Networks for Team Players in Firms

  • Casey Ichniowski
  • Kathryn L. Shaw

Traditional human capital theory emphasizes a worker's investment in knowledge. However, when a worker is faced with day-to-day problems on the job, the solutions to the problems often require more knowledge from a team of experts within the firm. When a worker taps into the knowledge of experts, the worker develops his "connective capital." Firms that value problem solving highly will develop the human resource management practices that support the environment of sharing knowledge. Data from the steel industry displays these concepts. For seven large steel mills, we gather data on the communications networks of steelworkers. The data shows that networks are exceedingly diverse across mills, and that the mills that have human resource management practices that support teamwork are the mills that have with much more dense high-volume communications links among workers. That is, workers in team-orientated mills have much higher levels of personal connective capital used for problem-solving.

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: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15619.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15619
Note: LS PR
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2007. "Surviving Andersonville: The Benefits of Social Networks in POW Camps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1467-1487, September.
  2. Lazear, Edward P, 1999. "Globalisation and the Market for Team-Mates," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(454), pages C15-40, March.
  3. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," NBER Working Papers 13653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kandel, Eugene & Lazear, Edward P, 1992. "Peer Pressure and Partnerships," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 801-17, August.
  5. Macleod, Bentley, 1987. "Behavior and the organization of the firm," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 207-220, June.
  6. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "Balanced Skills and Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 208-211, May.
  7. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  8. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
  10. Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  12. Arturs Kalnins & Wilbur Chung, 2006. "Social Capital, Geography, and Survival: Gujarati Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the U.S. Lodging Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(2), pages 233-247, February.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2004. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9599, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Kerwin Charles & Patrick Kline, 2002. "Relational Costs and the Production of Social Capital: Evidence from Carpooling," NBER Working Papers 9041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Brent Boning & Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2001. "Opportunity Counts: Teams and the Effectiveness of Production Incentives," NBER Working Papers 8306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Ajay Agrawal & Iain Cockburn & John McHale, 2003. "Gone But Not Forgotten: Labor Flows, Knowledge Spillovers, and Enduring Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 9950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Peter Cappelli & David Neumark, 2001. "Do “High-Performance†Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 737-775, July.
  18. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  19. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  20. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Cowards and Heroes: Group Loyalty in the American Civil War," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 519-548.
  21. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:nbr:nberwo:15619. 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: ()

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.