Transferring social capital from individual to team: An examination of moderators and relationships to innovative performance

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In this dissertation, I explore the relationships between individual social capital, team social capital, and team innovative performance. The association between personal and group social capital is underexplored (Burt, 2000; Kilduff & Krackhardt, 2008), and is important to investigate so that we may improve our knowledge of how social capital transfers from individuals to their teams in ways that promote team innovation. I hope to contribute to the literature on social capital in teams in three important ways.

Within team-based settings with high innovation requirements, I first propose that the structural bridging social capital (i.e., ties outside the team) of team members is an important predictor of the team's structural bridging social capital. Second, transferring social capital from the individual to team level, I suggest that a team member's sharing of his/her bridging social capital resources is influenced by relational, cognitive, and task components, including group identification, dyadic trust, team member exchange, and shared vision. Finally, I investigate the role of transactive memory systems and bonding social capital (i.e., ties inside the team) in explaining the relationship between team structural bridging social capital and team innovative performance.

Study participants were 263 members of 38 project teams in the merchandising displays division of a large paperboard and packaging manufacturer in the United States. I find that individual bridging social capital predicts team structural bridging social capital. Additionally, psychological identification with team, psychological identification with organization, team member exchange, and shared vision moderate the relationship between individual and team structural social capital. I conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for social capital and team innovative performance theory and practice.