the collective value of social networks of an individual, community or society that facilitates individual and collective action. Social capital broadly refers to those factors of effectively functioning social groups and their relationships to each other, include such values as interpersonal relationships, a shared sense of identity, a shared understanding of concepts and norms, trust, cooperation and reciprocity. The many views of this complex subject make a single definition difficult.
The term generally refers to (a) resources, and the value of these resources, both tangible (public spaces, private property) and intangible (actors, human capital, people), (b) the relationships among these resources, and (c) the impact that these relationships have on the resources involved in each relationship, and on larger groups. It is generally seen as a form of capital that produces public goods for a joint, collective or common purpose.
Social capital has been used to explain the improved performance of diverse groups, the growth of entrepreneurial firms, superior managerial performance, enhanced supply chain relations, the value derived from strategic alliances, and the evolution of communities. (For more information, click here.)
This term is to be understood distinctly and differently from parties outside the group such as external institutions, including the World Bank Group, that consider social capital in a community as an asset to be harnessed in order implement an externally driven project. Rather, social capital is a value rightfully belonging to its participants and practitioners within the group or community.