1.The informal communication network within organizations (i.e., the grapevine) is a powerful means of transmitting information.In fact, it is sometimes more effective than the formally established communication channels.
2.One way to look at informal networks is in the context of social capital, whichcan be defined as, “Networks of relationships (or social connections) and the value of the accessible resources represented by those relationships.”
3.Networks are like highways across which information moves, but the capital or value resulting is based on relationships between sender and receiver – the degree of trust, friendship, shared experiences and give-and-take (not necessarily bound by payment).The latter is called reciprocity.
4.The two primary forms of social capital are bridging (connecting otherwise not connected individuals or entities) and bonding (dense networks of close, trusting relationships).
5.Social capital has also been classified according to whether it is external or internal and whether it is being measured at the level of the individual or some collection of individuals.
6.The various forms of social capital each represent a source of value, but in different ways.
7.Unlike most forms of capital, social capital is enhanced rather than depleted with use.
8.Social capital is largely created as a byproduct of other activities. However, it can be purposefully created.
9.Social capital can facilitate change at multiple levels.And, perhaps more importantly, the lack of the appropriate forms of social capital may serve to inhibit organizational change and individual career change.
Additional thoughts from Dr. Zara Larsen:
1.“Know Who” can be more important than “Know How”.
2.It’s often not the volume or density of connections in your networks that is it important for career enhancement and transition; it’s the quality or strength of the connections.
3.Quality ties require quality nurturing – investment of time and energy.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008