On a source of social capital: Gift exchange

Wilfred Dolfsma, Rene van der Eijk, Albert Jolink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of social capital helps to explain relations within and between companies but has not crystallized yet. As such, the nature, development, and effects of such relations remain elusive. How is social capital created, how is it put to use, and how is it maintained? Can it decline, and if so, how? We argue that the concept of social capital remains a black box as the mechanisms that constitute it remain underdeveloped and that it is a black hole as many empirical phenomena are attributed to its presence. We use and develop the literature on gift exchange to provide a firmer theoretical basis for the concept of social capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Early online date14 Dec 2008
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Exclusion
  • Gift exchange
  • Inclusion
  • Social capital
  • Social relations
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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