Social capital as a critical ingredient for effective teams
What is the key ingredient for high-performance teams within an organization? Margaret Heffernan argues that it's not just the education levels or intelligence of the individual members, but their social capital.
She gleaned this from her experience as a CEO -- noting the most productive and rewarding experiences came when "we had social capital: the trust, knowledge, reciprocity and shared norms that create quality of life and make a group resilient."
Looking into the matter further, she found additional evidence to support this theory. For example, a study of collective intelligence conducted by Thomas Malone and a team of MIT researchers analyzing groups that proved exceptionally good at creative problem solving. Also, the example of Alex Pentland's groundbreaking study of office communications patterns and his counterintuitive finding that when office teams took breaks at the same time, productivity was increased.
Social capital is an essential element in our work on the economics of mutuality, but as Heffernan states:
"The concept takes on vital importance when applied to organizations that are now routinely beset by change, surprise, and ambiguity. At work, no less than in communities, social connectedness plays a critical role in making individuals and companies more resilient, better able to do conflict well."
How has social capital played a role in your working experience?