Can Social Contact Help Enterprise – and is that Social Capital?




Enterprise, social contact, social capital, vitamins


The impact that social relationships can have on human affairs is now widely recognised, not least in the field of enterprise. However if we just label that such helpful contact as social capital without further investigation of its nature, then we likely to view it from a perspective of what we think social capital is – and it is clear that it has a variety of interpretations.  This paper therefore first seeks to identify ways in which social relationships can impact on enterprise before seeing how that might fit with our concept(s) of social capital. Instead of considering what is social capital and how it is relevant to enterprise, it explores what aspects of social relationships can be relevant to enterprise and then asks whether that is social capital. The aim is to consider the potential relevance of social connections for new and small businesses and how that might be linked to the concept of social capital. To do this the paper first seeks to identify how social contact can be helpful to enterprise through a series examples which to show various ways in which knowing other people and recognising and utilising the potential to secure mutual benefit from those connections can be a crucial factor in business. It then compares these potential benefits with some of the things said about social capital to show how they might be related and suggests an analogy with the role of vitamins in diet which could help to link the two.

Author Biography

Simon Bridge, Ulster University Business School

Visiting Professor, Ulster University Business School


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How to Cite

Bridge, S. (2020). Can Social Contact Help Enterprise – and is that Social Capital?. Piccola Impresa / Small Business, (3).



Research Articles
Received 2019-07-02
Accepted 2020-01-07
Published 2020-03-30