Is Centrality the Key to High Performance?
Eckenhofer Eva Maria
Social Networks, Social Capital, Network Structure, Performance.
Social Capital, the outcome for individuals from networks with shared norms and values, has
already been discussed as a driver for innovation and performance improvement. Social Capital
is a resource embedded in social structures, which can be accessed as well as mobilized in
purposeful actions. There are various theories about social resources and structures leading
to discussions on whether network closure or the absence of ties is the key to the success of
Social Capital. Nevertheless, little is known about the relationship between network centrality
and Social Capital. Therefore, this paper aims at contributing to the discussion by analyzing,
using a case study, the structural position of actors who are rich in Social Capital. The study
also assesses if the actors who are central in the social network are the ones with the highest
performance. This study was based on a survey of 170 students from a Czech University, who
form three different networks. For the detection of Social Capital, a procedure developed and
tested in the European Values Study Surveys was applied. The relational data was analyzed using
UCINET and illustrated with the use of VISONE.
The outcomes suggest that there is a connection between the centrality of an actor and their
performance, not only in terms of average grade but also Social Capital. Furthermore, the data
analysis shows that the number of languages an actor speaks as well as experiences in foreign
countries impacts on their performance and location within a network.
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