Social Capital

What is social capital?

Scarabys defines social capital as the extensiveness of your social network and quality of these relationships.
In his 2001 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community author Robert Putnam writes, “Community connectedness is not just about warm fuzzy tales of civic triumph. In measurable and well-documented ways, social capital makes an enormous difference in our lives…Social capital makes us smarter, healthier, safer, richer…”Social capital in the form of strong relationships between people can lead to the sharing of resources and can help organizations accomplish goals through greater teamwork.

What we offer

  • People-First Values and Behaviors: We will show you how to grow your social capital by practicing values and behaviors that strengthen relationships including: valuing each person for their gifts and supporting each person to reach their potential. Strengthening your relationships increases your social capital. This increases the network of people willing to support a shared vision which enhances our ability to reach our goals as an organization.
  • Building Relationships without an End in Mind: We will focus in on the value of building relationships without looking for immediate outcomes or returns. Approaching relationships in this way makes them more authentic and allows them to grow organically.
  • Identifying Existing Relationships: We will work with your group to do an inventory of the social networks of your team and partnerships of the organization. We will work with you to map out a strategy to achieve your organization’s goals through utilizing and strengthening these relationships and partnerships.
  • Expanding your Social Network: Scarabys will work with you to create a strategy to increase your network to achieve your organization’s goals. This strategy will focus on growing relationships in certain social circles based on your past experiences and our research.
  • Using and Sharing Social Capital: We will show you how to accomplish your goals drawing from the support and resources in your social network. This will be based on the inventory of current relationships and your strategy to grow your network. Key to this stage is the establishment and maintenance of reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships.


  • Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam
  • Better Together: Restoring the American Community by Robert Putnam and Lewis Feldstein
  • “The essence of strategic leadership: Managing human and social capital” by Michael A Hitt; R Duane Ireland, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies; Summer 2002; 9, 1; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 3,
  • Social Capital∗ Building Toolkit, October, 2006 By Thomas H. Sander and Kathleen Lowney, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
  • “Promoting Community Vitality & Sustainability: The Community Capitals Framework”, Dr. Lionel J. “Bo” Beaulieu, Purdue University Center for Regional Development, October 2014,
  • “Social Capital Is as Important as Financial Capital in Health Care”, by Alexandra Norrish, Nikola Biller-Andorno, Padhraig Ryan, Thomas H. Lee, MD, Harvard Business Review, NOVEMBER 20, 2013
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell
  • Leadership and the New Science by Margaret J. Wheatley

How Do We Teach This?


  • Regular development sessions based on interactive activities and readings focused on understanding, building and using social capital.
  • Consulting Sessions
    What is social capital?
    Identifying it in your organization
    How to build and use social capital


  • Creating a strategy for social capital development followed by implementation, evaluation, and adaptation:
  • Example:
  • Goal 1: Increase our relationships with professors at local universities
  • Action 1: Each team member has coffee with a professor 1 time a week
  • Action 2: Attend 1 event at a university per week hosted by the particular departments you want to build relationships with
  • Evaluation: Discussion of new contacts and follow-up actions at the weekly staff meeting and quarterly reviews of the overall strategy
  • Adaptation: We found that a particular team member has a personal connection with a contact, so they will be the one to have coffee with them each week. After 3 months of meeting with professors you learn that it would be more impactful to build strong relationships with administrators and you refocus on this group.
  • Creating a tracking document to measure accountability and a regular review with team members to ritualize the focus on social capital development.
  • Scarabys observation of particular interactions and meetings with partners to provide feedback and coaching on improving your relationship building skills.