Social Capital and Individual Performance: A Study of Academic Collaboration

Alireza Abbasi, Liaquat Hossain, Rolf Wigand

Studies on social networks highlight the importance of network structure or structural properties of a given network and its impact on performance outcome. One of the important properties of this network structure is referred as "social capital" which is the "network of contacts" and the associated values attached to these networks of contacts. In this study, our aim is to provide empirical evidence of the influence of social capital and performance within the context of academic collaboration. We suggest that the collaborative process involves social capital embedded within relationships and network structures among direct co-authors. Thus, we examine whether scholars' social capital is associated with their citation-based performance, using co-authorship and citation data. In order to test and validate our proposed hypotheses, we extract publication records from Scopus having "information science" in their title or keywords or abstracts during 2001 and 2010. To overcome the limitations of traditional social network metrics for measuring the influence of scholars' social capital within their co-authorship network, we extend the traditional social network metrics by proposing a new measure (Power-Diversity Index). We then use Spearman's correlation rank test to examine the association between scholars' social capital measures and their citation-based performance. Results suggest that research performance of authors is positively correlated with their social capital measures. This study highlights that the Power-diversity Index, which is introduced as a new hybrid centrality measure, serves as an indicator of power and influence of an individual's ability to control communication and information.

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