School ties: Social capital and student performance in individual and group tasks

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study: This study seeks to understand the unique impact of social capital on student performance. We present hypotheses that link a student’s social capital to his/her performance on individual and group tasks. In both task settings, we posit that social capital has a curvilinear relationship (inverted U-shape) with performance, such that students’ performance is enhanced as social capital increases, but may exhibit declines if students over-invest in the initiation and development of their relationships Method/Design and Sample: We surveyed undergraduate students—primarily marketing majors—enrolled in a required upper-level business course at a private, midwestern university. Using a questionnaire, we obtained roster-based, sociometric data on interpersonal ties for all 65 students enrolled in the course. Results: The results partly support an association between a student’s social capital and his/her performance. Specifically, we find evidence that the performance-enhancing effects of social capital (1) are evident in group tasks, rather than in individual tasks; and (2) may be best conceptualized as a curvilinear effect. Value to Marketing Educators: The marketing literature exhibits a growing curiosity around the role of social networks and their impact on student effectiveness in the classroom and beyond. This study raises awareness of the unique role that a student’s social capital plays in group task performance, as well as limitations on its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalJournal for Advancement of Marketing Education
Volume23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Marketing

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