Building relationships: An empirical analysis of building design, social capital, and team outcomes

Date of Completion

January 2003


Psychology, Social|Engineering, Industrial|Psychology, Industrial




An increasing number of organizational researchers have turned to social capital theory in an attempt to better understand both individual and organizational functioning. The current study extends this research by investigating social capital at the work team level. Using the three-factor social capital model proposed by Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), antecedents and outcomes of each social capital dimension (structural, relational, and cognitive) were proposed. Specifically, it was hypothesized that aspects of the workplace would influence each dimension of social capital through their effect on cross-functional communication frequency. In turn, each social capital dimension would impact team-level outcomes. Initial results indicated that while aspects of the workplace had a significant impact on communication frequency, communication frequency did not affect social capital. Post-hoc analyses, however, provided empirical evidence that each social capital dimension does have its own unique antecedents. Regarding social capital's outcomes, structural social capital had a significant positive influence on team creativity; relational social capital had a significant positive influence on affective team commitment; and, against prediction, cognitive social capital had a significant negative influence on team creativity. Theoretical and practical implications are offered and future research directions are proposed. ^