Defining the Social Capital of the Board of Directors: An Exploratory Study

Nicholson, Gavin J., Alexander, Malcolm, & Kiel, Geoffrey C. (2004) Defining the Social Capital of the Board of Directors: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Australian New Zealand Academy of Management (JANZAM), 10(1), pp. 54-72.


This paper advances the resource dependence and social networks literature by investigating a board’s structural social capital created as a consequence of interlocking directorates. Using approaches and measures developed by social network analysis we compare the interpersonal directorship networks of the top 250 companies in the United States and Australia. We find that the smaller, sparser Australian network is only marginally less compact and connected than the larger US network at the firm level of analysis. However, at the director level of analysis the US network is much larger and more connected than its Australian counterpart. As a result, we argue that scholars studying the resource dependence role of boards should consider using measures of interpersonal links as well as traditional measures of inter-firm links.

Impact and interest:

19 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 5058
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Boards of directors, corporate governance, social capital, network analysis
ISSN: 1833-3672
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 eContent Management
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 24 Oct 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:23

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