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Social Capital in the Workplace

Social capital is most often presented as a macro-level indicator of social connectedness of a community. As such, any spatial analysis of social capital tends to be community based. Much less work has explored the meaning of individuals’ social capital in the workplace. This project analyses how different gendered social networks affects an individual’s job acquisition, retention and promotion. We argue for a more nuanced approach towards social capital both as an indicator of connectedness and inclusivity but also as an mechanism of exclusion that functions to reinforce job segmentation in the labour market. We also argue that social capital in the labour market has important intra-regional and interregional dimensions which are lost if social capital is only analysed in the community. Moreover, we argue that social capital not only has to be differentiated by gender, age, and ethnicity, but that these social structures produce different spatial barriers and opportunities.

By tracing the career paths of non-ethnic and ethnic minority, female and male, ICT professionals via a life-history approach, we investigate how social capital functions, for individuals and the firm, in elite technical jobs in Cambridge, UK.

Funding from the EU, IST programme.


  • 2007. Gray, M., Kurihara, T., Hommen, L. and Feldman, J. “Networks of Exclusion: Job Segmentation and Gendered Social Networks in the Knowledge Economy” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal‎, 26 (2): 144-161. doi:10.1108/02610150710732212
  • 2007. Gray, M. and James, A., “Connecting Gender and Economic Competitiveness: Lessons from Cambridge’s High Tech Regional Economy.” Environment and Planning A. 39(2): 417-436. doi:10.1068/a37406