Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Role of Social Capital in Shaping Management in Jordan: A Case Study on Umniah Company

Academic journal article Journal of Management Research

The Role of Social Capital in Shaping Management in Jordan: A Case Study on Umniah Company

Article excerpt


This research describes a research project that examines the role of social capital in shaping management in the Jordanian telecoms sector, more precisely Umniah Company. In doing so it has sought to examine the relationship between social capital and the emergence of specifically 'Arab' approaches to management. Case study investigation is used to explore and elucidate the 'lived experience' of management in this organization. The interviews material has shown that social capital is playing a major role in shaping the practice of management. The case study provides empirical support for the idea that this is sustained by networking behavior, by relatively high levels of trust and by the existence of shared norms. The lack of studies on social capital from a management perspective and the lack of studies of such research in the Middle East in general, more precisely Jordan, make this research a path finding research and contributes toward the development of Jordan and contributed towards Arab management by entering Arab management in the management discourse.

Keywords: Social Capital, Network, Trust, Norms, Management, Middle East, Jordan.

1. Introduction

Social capital has evolved over several years (Putnam, 1995; Bankston and Zhou, 2002; Labonte, 1999; Lazega and Pattison, 2001). The term is associated with social connectedness and civil society (Adam and Roncevic, 2003). The concept has been developed by Bourdieu, Putnam and Coleman to express the social relationships between people that facilitate beneficial outcomes (Szreter, 2000). The term social capital refers to the individual's store of social trust and networks that people can use to resolve their daily problems. Lack of social capital has been seen as an explanation for social problems as varied as crime, poverty, economic inefficiency and inefficient government (Boix and Posner, 1998).

There has been a growth in the discussion of social capital in academic literature over the last ten years (Aldridge et al. 2002). The concept of social capital is suitable for a variety of applications since researchers can investigate any social situation through the conceptual structure of social capital (Grootaert and Van Bastelaer, 2002b). In proposing a fourth paradigm of management to describe the unique style that has emerged in the Arab world, Weir (2001) has suggested many opportunities for applying research on social capital. In order to situate this, there is a real need to explore the idea of social capital where the kind of relationship, ties, norms, beliefs, and trust between people, have been considered as the major aspects of this concept.

Some have argued that although social capital was originally conceived as a community notion, it should be visible at the individual level (Brewer, 2003). Others have disagreed with this assertion, noting visibility at both a community and an individual level. Given that Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992) recognized it at the individual level and that Putnam (1999) more recently at the community level. Others have argued more in favor of the social structure, that social capital is not a characteristic of individuals but a context dependent feature of the social structure (Hogan and Owen, 2000) Much research has posited that social capital is a feature of the community. Indeed, Newton has argued that social capital and civil society are fundamentally social and collective aspects of social systems, rather than a characteristic of individuals (Newton, 2001). The important difference between human and social capital is that social capital is found in relations between individuals and groups, and not in individuals (Edwards and Foley, 1998). The general agreement in the literature is that social capital is identifiable from the individual level to the level of the nation however it is clear that social capital is evident at any level where there is identification and belonging. Social capital can be categorized as having three essential levels the micro, individual level, the meso, group level and the macro, societal level. …

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