Factors affecting bridging social capital in on-line professional networks : an exploratory study of social capital formation on LinkedIn
thesisposted on 2021-06-08, 14:44 authored by Natalia Gilewicz
This thesis investigates factors contributing to bridging social capital on LinkedIn. An online social network is one that allows users to make and share contacts by way of displaying their network (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). The intention of a network such as LinkedIn, is to create professional opportunities for its participants. Here, social capital is seen as the resource embedded within the social network, and as such is conceptualized as the benefit associated with online social network participation. Bridging social capital typically exists between weakly tied colleagues, It has been said to a superior type of social capital for 'getting ahead' (Putnam, 2000). Understanding how to create opportunities to increase bridging social capital in an online environment is useful to potentially overcoming barriers that exist offline. Using the partial least squares approach to structural equation modeling, the thesis analyzes data collected from an online survey (n:167) of LinkedIn members. Driven by theory, three constructs are conceptualized as contributing to the variance in bridging social capital. Ease of sue, browsing behaviours, and bonding social capital all have a positive relationship with bridging social capital, and together explain 53.8% of this variance. These findings are then extended to explore the broader design implications they have an online social network.