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Social network analysis for policy design

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Title:
Social network analysis for policy design collaborative discourse between nonprofitgovernment organizations and the resulting effect on community level social capital
Creator:
Vogenbeck, Danielle M
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Language:
English
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xvii, 281 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Social capital (Sociology) -- United States ( lcsh )
Social networks -- United States ( lcsh )
Non-governmental organizations -- United States ( lcsh )
Public-private sector cooperation -- United States ( lcsh )
Social sciences -- Network analysis ( lcsh )
Non-governmental organizations ( fast )
Public-private sector cooperation ( fast )
Social capital (Sociology) ( fast )
Social networks ( fast )
Social sciences -- Network analysis ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 271-281).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Danielle M. Vogenbeck.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
71360555 ( OCLC )
ocm71360555
Classification:
HM708 .V64 2005a ( lcc )

Full Text
SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS FOR POLICY DESIGN:
COLLABORATIVE DISCOURSE BETWEEN NONPROFTT/GOVERNMENT
ORGANIZATIONS AND THE RESULTING EFFECT ON COMMUNITY LEVEL
SOCIAL CAPITAL
by
Danielle M Vogenbeck
B.A., University of Texas Austin, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Affairs
2005


2005 by Danielle M Vogenbeck
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Danielle M Vogenbeck
has been approved
by
Peter deLeon
Linda deLeon
Ann Marie Thomson
g 3 OS
Date


Vogenbeck, Danielle M (Ph.D., Public Affairs)
Social Network Analysis for Policy Design: Collaborative Discourse Between
Nonprofit/Govemment Organizations and the Resulting Effect on Community Level
Social Capital
Thesis directed by Professor Peter deLeon
ABSTRACT
The challenge of designing public policy in todays complex society calls for
an alternative to traditional methods of governance. Most recently, the rise of
network governance models that foster a civic infrastructure allowing participation
from the all sectors to shape public policy is evident. One of the most prevalent
appearances of network governance is the provision of social services and other
public goods through nonprofit-government partnerships.
This thesis evaluates the collaboration between the AmeriCorps National
Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and the nonprofit communities in which they
work. A primary goal of this collaboration is to strengthen the ties that bind us
together, resulting in a proposed increased amount of bridging social capital. This
leads to the question, Can the government foster social capital development, and
further, should it, and if so, how can it?
Most research on social capital takes a micro-level approach, focusing on
individual behaviors (such as voting behavior). This thesis applies Social Network
Analysis (SNA) for taking a community level assessment of social capital. In this
IV


view, social networks are a proxy for social capital. Social networks are sets of
individuals or groups who are connected to one another through meaningful social
relationships. Network theories applied to this thesis indicate that networks rich in
both weak ties, bridges, and structural holes contain higher levels of social capital.
Four communities that partnered with the AmeriCorps NCCC were evaluated
by measuring changes to the social network structure of the communities in terms of
weak ties, bridges, and structural holes. The findings suggest that the intervention of
the AmeriCorps NCCC can be effective at fostering the development of weak ties,
bridges, and structural holes in communities that have high levels of trust,
information flow, and highly active network connections. The value of the resulting
bridging social capital is discussed and the importance of this type of social capital is
emphasized. The role of trust to weak ties is explored and research hypotheses for
examining this phenomenon are suggested. Finally, it is suggested that open
networks better foster bridging social capital, particularly in network governance
models. > .
This thesis accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
Peter deLeon
v


DEDICATION
To my nieces, Maria and Katja, and my nephews, Brennan and Cade, with hope that
they always have the courage to reach for their stars.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
It is rare that a person gets the opportunity to put into words the deeply felt
gratitude that comes with being surrounded by extraordinary people. The completion
of this dissertation is a milestone in my life and I am proud to recognize the people
that have blessed me through it all. Sharing my gratitude for those I honor in this
space brings me great joy, but I am certain that these words can hardly bring justice to
the value of each person.
I will begin by recounting the two moments that stand out as the catalysts that
put my life on course. The first was the day that Peter deLeon, my chair, requested to
speak to me after a class. He very directly suggested that I might find a good home in
the doctoral program at GSPA. That day, he took me under his wing and has not let
go. Every step of my way down the path towards completion of this dissertation was
nurtured by his wisdom, thoughtfulness, and care of me. I know without any doubt
that I could not have achieved this goal without his attention and faith in me. I am
humbled by this man and honored to be his student.
The second was when my mentor, friend and AmeriCorps Unit Leader,
Vaughn Cottman, told me that he thought I could become a leader in the program and
requested that I step it up to fulfill this role. That comment and his incredible


leadership style empowered me to find the confidence and taught me the skills to take
the risks involved in the, at times, harrowing task that is the dissertation. Vaughns
integrity, kindness, confidence, and leadership are the qualities I admire most, and
hope to emulate.
However, I could not have reached this goal without the knowledge and
guidance of my other committee members. Linda deLeons consistent high standards
coupled with encouraging advice, Gabriel Kaplans genius in statistical matters and
academic life, Ann Marie Thomsons nurturing mentorship and invaluable feedback,
and Stephen Blocks expertise and flexibility, together comprised the synergy of a
committee that every student hopes for.
The financial support of the Global Services Institute in the Center for Social
Development at Washington University made it possible for me to devote the time
and energy required to complete this work. The guidance from Amanda Moore
McBride, and her continued advice, are invaluable. Permission and support from the
Corporation for National and Community Service, particularly Barbara Benner, and
Merlene Mazyck provided the necessary knowledge to complete the data collection.
Ms. Benner made it possible for me to access the community members in this study,
Ms. Mazyck wrote letters of recommendation and provided crucial advice, and Drs.
Grimm and Reingold provided thoughtful feedback throughout this process. I hope to
have the opportunity to continue working with each in the future.


Throughout this process, I have been challenged in a myriad of ways -
mentally and emotionally. I have a main avenue of support, my family, to thank for
bringing peace into my life in ways that got me through the hardest times. My
family is the very source of my strength and determination. Each one in their own
way has provided the nudges I needed to see this through. First, my mothers endless
supply of love, her examples as a beloved teacher, and her stoic faith got me through
many a rough day. My fathers continued focus on the goal, dedication to his own
commitments, and altruism towards his community have taught me to do the same.
My sisters Monica and Jennifer, my best friends, are two of the strongest women I
know. Their brilliance, huge hearts, consistent encouragement, and unconditional
love have made each day of my life more blessed. My little brother Garrett has
guided me in thoughts about life priorities and I only hope I can one day match his
strong character, integrity and ability to excel in lifes many endeavors. I first
appreciated my brother-in-law Del for loving my sister so fiercely, but now I
appreciate him even more for loving us all enough to share with us his giving nature
and kindness thank you for the many ways you have helped me. The Mayhak
children, my nieces and nephews, Brennan, Maria, Katja, and Cade are an endless
source of hugs, giggles, dancing, and playing. They not only have a knack at easing a
troubled mind, but their brilliant curiosity reminds me to always wonder. Finally, I
thank my Aunt Tesha for being an example of strength and consistency and always
letting me know that she is proud of me.


One of the most challenging parts about finishing this dissertation is leaving
the people I have grown so accustomed to at GSPA. I owe many thanks to Dawn
Savage, Antoinette Sandoval, Rob Drouillard, Kaylene Proctor, and Kathy Kilpatrick
for keeping me afloat of the many requirements is takes to navigate through a
university. Dr. Allan Wallis challenged me to apply myself while offering
encouragement at every step. I thank Christine Martell for her friendship and
knowledge and Seong-Gin Moon for believing in me. I am one of many who think
the world of Tom McCoy and his artistic intelligence. But my many days at GSPA
would have been lacking without the friendship, secrets, and enthusiasm I share with
my very dear colleague, Jo Amey.
For almost ten years now, I have experienced life with my friend Debora Din.
I owe her many thanks for unconditional love, trust, and resilient support. With
Debora, I know I am not alone on this journey of life. I owe many thanks to my
friends Kim Hedberg, Sara Francis, Craig Hazelton, and Kim Hammett all steadfast
in my support system through their friendship, courage, faith, and vibrancy.
Finally, I am most thankful for my beloved Dan Varda. With each day that
we spend together, I become a better person because of what I learn from him. There
is no one I would rather face lifes challenges with than this man. His patient manner,
sharp mind, passion for life, and spirit of kindness makes me proud to be by his side.
He not only changed my life the moment he came into it, but he has been every
moment I can remember since. And I am endlessly grateful.


CONTENTS
FIGURES..........................................................xvi
TABLES..........................................................xvii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION....................................................1
Nonprofit-Government Relations as a Form of
Network Governance...............................................4
The Social Network Lens to Social Capital
and Network Governance...........................................7
Measuring Social Capital.........................................8
Measuring Social Capital: Normative Values
vs. Structural Makeup.........................................10
Applying a Structural Perspective.............................11
Social Network Analysis.........................................13
State-Society Synergy...........................................16
National Service, Network Theory,
and Social Capital..............................................16
A Roadmap for the Thesis........................................18
2. A BRIEF HISTORY OF NATIONAL
SERVICE IN AMERICA................................................20
Civic Service and Volunteerism..................................21
The Policy Cycles of Civic Service.:............................25
xi


The National and Community Service Act of 1993........................30
The AmeriCorps Structure..............................................33
Conclusions............................................................36
3. LITERATURE REVIEW.....................................................38
Social Capital........................................................39
Social Networks as Proxy for Social Capital.........................46
Social Capital as a Policy Tool.....................................53
Network Governance: Governance in a Changing Society..................57
Traditional Governance: Markets and Hierarchies.....................58
Network Governance: An Alternative to Markets
and Hierarchies.....................................................60
Types of Network Governance Structure...............................61
The Challenges of Network Governance................................62
Participatory Democracy and Network Governance......................64
Tools for Network Governance........................................66
Individual/Organizational Motivations...............................68
Social Networks as Social Capital.....................................70
What Are Social Networks?...........................................71
The Strength of Ties................................................73
Weak Ties, Bridges, and Social Capital..............................79
Strong Ties vs. Weak Ties...........................................81
Structural Holes....................................................85
Structural Holes and Weak Ties......................................92
Variance of a Network: Structure, Function, and Context........... 94
State-Society Synergy................................................100
The State Structure................................................101
Societal Structure.................................................105
Conclusions and Review...............................................108
4. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY......................................115
Research Goals......................................................115
Research Questions..................................................117
xii


Propositions..............................................................118
Research Design...........................................................120
Pilot Study.............................................................120
Modes of Analysis.......................................................121
Description of the Subject Population...................................125
Data Collection Procedure...............................................131
Research Methodology......................................................133
Social Network Analysis.................................................136
Quantitative Evaluation.................................................139
Qualitative Evaluation..................................................141
Bounding the Network....................................................143
Analysis..................................................................145
Density.................................................................148
Transitivity............................................................149
Centrality..............................................................150
Autocorrelations........................................................152
Network Visualizations..................................................154
Validity and Reliability..................................................155
Limitations...............................................................157
5. AMERICORPS NCCC IN FOUR COMMUNITIES......................................162
Noxious Weed Removal Program Missoula, MT...............................163
Descriptive Characteristics.............................................163
Network Characteristics Density and Transitivity......................167
Network Characteristics Centrality and Key Players....................171
Boys and Girls Club of Park County Cody, WY.............................175
Descriptive Characteristics.............................................175
Network Characteristics Density and Transitivity......................179
Network Characteristics Centrality and Key Players....................181
Fremont County Youth Camp Lander, WY....................................184
Descriptive Characteristics.............................................184
Network Characteristics Density and Transitivity......................187
Network Characteristics Centrality and Key Players....................190
xiii


Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps Yellowstone, WY.................193
Descriptive Characteristics..........................................193
Network Characteristics Density and Transitivity...................196
Network Characteristics Centrality and Key Players.................199
Comparative Discussion of the Four
Communitys Descriptions...............................................201
Trust and Influence....................................................203
Weak Ties and Structural Holes....................................... 206
Weak Ties: Frequency and Intensity...................................206
Weak Ties: Cut-points and Density....................................208
Structural Holes.....................................................209
6. CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS.............................213
Propositions Revisited.................................................214
Proposition 1........................................................214
Proposition 2........................................................215
Proposition 3........................................................215
Conclusion One: Increased Bridging Social Capital......................218
Conclusion Two: Network Diversity, Density/
Transitivity, and Attitudes Matter;
Centrality Does Not....................................................221
Conclusion Three: Trust as a Crucial Element
to Social Capital Development..........................................226
Conclusion Four: The State Can Foster
Bridging Social Capital................................................230
Conclusion Five: The AmeriCorps NCCC/Nonprofit
Collaboration is an Example of Network Governance......................232
Hypotheses Development and Lessons Learned.............................233
Limitations of the Thesis..............................................237
Future Research........................................................242
xiv


Research Implications...............................244
APPENDIX
l. INTERVIEW PROTOCOL................................247
n. NETWORK QUESTIONNAIRE.............................249
m. POST-INTERVENTION NETWORK
QUESTIONNAIRE...................................... 258
IV. CONSENT FORM.....................................262
V. SELECTING PARTNERS...............................264
VI. GLOSSARY OF TERMS................................266
VII. CONSTRAINT MEASURE..............................269
VIII. GEARYS C......................................270
WORKS CITED............................................271
xv


FIGURES
Figure 2.1 Volunteers Signing Up for the CCC in April 1933 (Zacarias 2005)....27
Figure 2.2 An AmeriCorps Advertisement (www.americorps.org)..................33
Figure 3.1 Structural Holes Burt (1992: 27)..................................87
Figure 3.2 Structural Holes Burt (1992: 18)..................................91
Figure 3. 3 Structural Equivalence Burt (1992: 23)..........................93
Figure 3.4 Organizational Structure, Function, and Context...................96
Figure 4.1 Network Properties...............................................137
Figure 4.2 Sociomatrix......................................................138
Figure 4.3 Transitivity.....................................................149
Figure 4.4 A Network Graph..................................................155
Figure 5.1 Core Network Pre-Intervention, Missoula..........................168
Figure 5.2 Complete Network Pre-Intervention, Missoula......................169
Figure 5.3 Key Player Network, Missoula.....................................172
Figure 5.4 Core Network Pre-Intervention, Cody..............................179
Figure 5.5 Complete Network Pre-Intervention, Cody..........................180
Figure 5.6 Key Player Network, Cody.........................................182
Figure 5.7 Core Network Pre-Intervention, Fremont County....................189
Figure 5.8 Complete Network Pre-Intervention, Fremont County................190
Figure 5.9 Key Player Network, Fremont County...............................192
Figure 5.10 Core Network Pre-Intervention, Yellowstone......................197
Figure 5.11 Complete Network Pre-Intervention, Yellowstone..................198
Figure 5.12 Key Player Network, Yellowstone.................................200
xvi


TABLES
Table 3.1 Comparison of Prominent Social Capital Theories.................49
Table 4.1 Summary of Research Design......................................125
Table 4.2 Expected Correlations Between Structural Holes and Weak Ties....147
Table 5.1 Number of Network Ties, Missoula................................167
Table 5.2 Centrality, Trust, and Influence, Missoula Pre-Intervention.....173
Table 5.3 Number of Network Ties, Cody....................................180
Table 5.4 Centrality, Trust, and Influence, Cody Pre-Intervention.........182
Table 5.5 Number of Network Ties, Fremont County..........................187
Table 5.6 Centrality, Trust, and Influence, Fremont County Pre-Intervention.... 192
Table 5.7 Number of Network Ties, Yellowstone.............................197
Table 5.8 Centrality, Trust, and Influence, Yellowstone Pre-Intervention..199
Table 5.9 Summary of Changes in Density, Transitivity, and Number of Ties ..201
Table 5.10 Trust/Influence Correlations With Strength of Ties.............203
Table 5.11 Number of Weak Ties: Frequency and Intensity...................206
Table 5.12 Number of Weak Ties: Cutpoints and Degree......................207
Table 5.13 Constraint Score as a Measure of Structural Holes..............208
Table 5.14 Summation of Change............................................211
Table 6.1 Summation of Conclusions, Their Meaning, and Implications.......216
xvii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The literature arguing for a more democratic, participatory society has been in
a part of public policy discourse for some time now with scholars such as Lasswell
(1951:961-979), Fischer (1989:941-951,1995,1998:129-147,1993), P. deLeon
(1992:125-129, 1994:77-95, 1994a: 176-184, 1995:886-905, 1997:80-93), and Dryzek
(1990:1-254, 1996:475-486) calling for increased civic participation at all levels of
the public realm. Some have agreed with these theorists, identifying methods to
study this phenomenon and developing tools to enable citizens to participate in the
political process (Dahl, 1947:1-11, 1991; P. deLeon, 1997:80-93; Duming, 1993:231-
257) while others (more traditionally oriented) have maintained the traditional
rhetoric of hierarchical structures and bureaucratic designs dominated by group
theory and sovereign nations (White 1926, Waldo 1948, Truman 1951). These latter
schools, characterized by their close ties to the history of classic American public
administration, will soon recognize that a participatory society, filled with
intersectoral collaborations, is dominating the patterns of contemporary societal and
political systems. American politics and administration possibly stand on the cusp of
a new participatory era that, if realized, will bring the writings of these participatory
1


thinkers to the forefront with justification and legitimacy as the practical nature of
increased civic involvement takes shape. Hajer and Wagenaar (2003) acknowledge
this movement as the shift in vocabulary that has occurred over the last ten
years...terms such as governance, institutional capacity, networks, complexity,
trust, deliberation, and interdependence dominate the debate, while terms such as
the state, government, power and authority, loyalty, sovereignty, and
interest groups have lost their grip on the analytical imagination.
The movement described here is the development of network governance a
shift away from the traditional models of markets and hierarchies as templates for
creating and implementing policy towards a new model of intermingling of different
state actors as well as between the state and societal organizations (Hajer &
Wagenaar, 2003; Powell, 1990:295-336). Today, it is increasingly clear that neither
markets nor hierarchies are serving as sufficient forms of governance for
organizations such as government and private entities. As Powell (1990:297)
observes, firms are blurring their established boundaries and engaging in forms of
collaboration that resemble neither the familiar alternative of arms length market
contracting nor the former ideal of vertical integration. Instead, governance is
falling somewhere in the middle of this administrative spectrum, not even as a hybrid
form of the two, but rather a new form of organizational governance (Williamson,
1975). Goldberg (1980:337-352) noted that much contemporary economic activity
takes place within long-term, complex, multiparty contractual relationships and that
2


behavior is in various degrees sheltered from pure market forces. In other words,
many former market relationships or exchanges have been replaced by
interorganizational collaborations. The dominant reason that traditional forms of
governance no longer provide the guidance to reach successful outcomes is because
certain forms of exchange are more social that is, more dependent on relationships,
mutual interests, and reputation as well as less guided by a formal structure of
authority (Powell, 1990:295-336).
To determine the best form of collaboration, a careful examination into the
various governance alternatives is now in order. Why some collaborative approaches
work well in one community and not in another is an important question to guide an
understanding of what kinds of governance structures will best manage these regional
conglomerates. Innovation is the key to this answer and surrounds attempts at
understanding network-based forms of governance. Innovation stems from the
interplay among the different institutions and individuals, firms, laboratories,
universities, and consumers, as well as the different methodological approaches to
studying these collaborations. The end result is a reconstructed society composed of
more network-based governance patterns (Stoker, 1996).
3


Nonprofit-Government Relations as a Form of
Network Governance
Maybe the most prevalent appearance of network governance is illustrated in
the provision of social services and other public goods through nonprofit-government
partnerships. President Ronald Reagans efforts in the 1980s to privatize
governmental services and decentralize the provision of such services forced the
members of the nonprofit sector to deal with government agencies on a more frequent
and dependent level than in the past (Smith & Lipsky, 1993). This is particularly due
to the fiscal nature of the relationship between the public and nonprofit sectors, with
the government either providing directed grants to nonprofit organizations, or
contracting with them directly to provide social services. When the federal
administration moved to decentralize government services, a heavy burden was
placed on the nonprofit sector, resulting in both benefits and hardships to this sector.
The nonprofit sector has benefited from its new responsibility with an improved
image of legitimacy, leading to the professionalization of the field as well as
academic legitimacy in terms of curriculum offerings and research development.
Unfortunately, along with increased visibility and prestige came the tremendous
responsibility of providing new and additional services to the public. This
combination left the sector overworked and under-funded. As the decentralization of
services continues, the necessity for network governance (and an understanding of the
4


phenomenon) is increasingly important to the survival of the nonprofit sector and the
adequate provision of services to the public.
Historically, nonprofits have played a key role in providing services to
underprivileged persons and other populations in need (Smith & Lipsky, 1993). What
began as predominantly religious activists striving to meet the needs in their
communities has over time become an intrinsic part of society. Traditionally, funding
for nonprofits was achieved in the form of charitable donations by the general public.
This is still very much true; however, the privatization of government services has
resulted in a growing percentage of nonprofits receiving the majority of their funding
from government grants.
In 1993, President Bill President Clinton signed the National and Community
Service Act, throwing a new wrinkle into the relationship between nonprofits and
government. Specifically, this bill established the AmeriCorps programs and in turn,
the direct provision by the government of personnel to work in the nonprofit sector.
AmeriCorps volunteers have since been placed in a variety of positions in many
communities, funded partly by the nonprofits with whom they work, and partly by the
federal government. This shift has intensified the collaboration between the sectors
and underpins the phenomenon of increased network governance.
Similarly, this example of nonprofit-public sector partnerships illustrates the
need for further understanding and development of this type of emerging
collaboration. It is yet unclear whether nonprofits will be able to maintain the
5


necessary capacity and financial growth necessary to assume the burdens once owned
by the public sector. Recently, President George W. Bush called for compassionate
conservatism, suggesting that the government can indeed foster relationships with
nonprofits to achieve community goals, resulting (albeit not in Bushs terms) in the
construction of social capital (the contextual complement to human capital).
Traditionally however, nonprofits have been viewed as the driving force behind social
capital construction at the community level (deTocqueville, 1835b). The shift from
social capital construction as a goal of the nonprofit sector to one owned by the public
sector is debatable. Can the government foster social capital development, and
further, should it, and if so, how can it?
As these AmeriCorps partnerships enter their twelfth year, it is necessary to
explore in-depth whether targeting the building of social capital and the strengthening
of communities is an appropriate activity for the government (through the
AmeriCorps program) to engage in, or whether that task is best left to the nonprofit
sector even if the latter might be less focused on social capital ends. As public
budgets remain constrained, the importance of this research is clear we must
discover the best ways for the nonprofit and government sectors to leverage their
resources to strengthen communities to improve the delivery of social goods, in this
case by participating in the process of network governance.
6


The Social Network Lens to Social Capital
and Network Governance
Most research on social capital has utilized to a micro-level approach,
focusing on individual behaviors, such as voting behavior and membership affiliation
(Paxton, 1999:88-127; Putnam, 1993,1995a:65-78,1995b:669-683,2000b:539; SCI,
1998; Wendy Stone, 2001:1-35). A social capital construct, however, requires the
ability to utilize these behaviors in a variety of multi-person interrelationships. If
social capital is a cumulative measure, it is one best measured by evaluating inter-
group relationships rather than skills individuals possess (Huntoon, 2001:157-158;
Putnam, 1995a:65-78; Wendy Stone, 2001:1-35; White, 2002:255-269). This
demands a community level assessment of social capital, as opposed to the micro-
level behavioral approach most commonly illustrated in social capital literature.
Paxton (1999:88-127), for instance, notes that much of the existing social capital
research on this topic has been an attempt to utilize behavioral characteristics of
individuals in an attempt to illustrate the degree of stock in social capital within a
community.
More recent work, however, has focused on social networks as a proxy to
social capital, and whether social networks are an indicator of social capital (White,
2002:255-269). Social networks are sets of individuals or groups who are connected
to one another through socially meaningful relationships (Wellman and Berkowitz
1988). When studying social capital at the community level, it is necessary to develop
7


a measurement that accounts for the aggregate level of social capital that result,
basically derived from the way that people interact within the community. Measuring
individual characteristics fails to explain how the interactions between people
increase social capital at the community level.
Measuring Social Capital
The theory of social capital suffers from what many new developments in
academia find as challenging in the beginning an identity crisis. In recent years,
social capital has excited much attention and come to worldwide prominence within
academic and government circles alike (P. Bourdieu, 1997:46-58; Coleman, 1988:95-
129; Putnam, 1993, 1995a:65-78). Whether or not social capital can continue to
survive the robust demands of academic research depends largely on developing
universally accepted definitions and measurements of the concept. As reported to the
Canadian government in a roundtable presentation by the Policy Research Initiative,
the current range and ambiguity in the meanings attached to the concept do not help
in making a case for its practical value for policy and program development...we may
be approaching a point where the term has been applied in so many different contexts
and to such a range of events as to mean everything and nothing (Matthews, 2003:1-
27)
Attempts at studying social capital have not surprisingly led to many
definitions of social capital. The narrowest lenses of social capital are associated with
8


Putnam (1993) who views it as a set of horizontal associations between people. A
broader concept of social capital is associated with Coleman (1990: 598) who defines
social capital as a variety of different entities, with two elements in common: they
all consist of some aspect of social structure, and they facilitate certain actions of
actors including both horizontal and vertical associations. The broadest definition of
social capital includes the social and political environment that shapes social structure
and enables norms to develop (SCI, 1998).
Still, there is not a specific definition or method for measuring social capital
that everyone can accept. In fact, as one might expect, the debate has seen the
conceptualization of social capital race ahead of the development of tools for
measuring it empirically (Wendy Stone, 2001:1-35). Although not all social capital
research has been based on clear definition and theory, much social capital research to
date provides a useful starting point to the development of conceptually sound
measures. Winter (2000) points out that despite some conceptual confusion in the
social capital literature, three of the most notable social capital authors (Putnam,
Coleman, and Bourdieu) each conceptualize social capital as a resource to collective
action, which may lead to a broad range of outcomes.
Networks may be understood as the structural elements of social capital,
while the content of these networks refer to norms of trust and reciprocity. For this
thesis, social capital is defined structurally, as the aggregate of the actual or potential
resources which are linked to the possession of a durable network of more or less
9


institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition (P. Bourdieu,
1997:46-58) and is referred throughout the thesis as bridging social capital. To
Stone (2001: 6) conceptualizing social relations as networks enables us to identify
the structure of social relations (for example whether people know one another, and
what the nature of their relationship is) as well as their content (e.g., flows of goods
and services between people, as well as norms governing such exchanges). A focus
on network characteristics allows us to take advantage of the explanatory force
behind the bonding, bridging, and linking typology of social capital.
This typology has proven to be very useful for discerning the different roles
played by social capital in different contexts and individual circumstances, and for
identifying very concrete implications for public policy. It is difficult for
policymakers, and others, to apply the term social capital to policy processes and until
the phenomenon is systematical defined and measured, the concept of social capital
cannot reach its full potential. This thesis contributes to the growing application of a
network-based approach as a means for measuring social capital and as a result,
developing a systematic definition and measurement of the phenomenon.
Measuring Social Capital: Normative Values
vs. Structural Makeup
Most social capital researchers fall into two categories, those that study social
capital in terms of its structural characteristics (Bourdieu 1983, Burt 1992), and those
10


that study it in terms of the normative values involved (Putnam 1995a). The latter is
more widely developed, although there is still no consistent or consensual way to
measure social capital. Those that emphasize normative values often refer to
behaviors such as membership, association, giving, and participating to explain why
some people and communities have different levels of social capital. On the other
hand, structural theorists point to the actual relationships held between individuals
that increase a shared level of social capital. For example, if a group of twenty
people are part of a community, we could take a measure of each persons level of
social capital and make claims about how these levels of social capital affect the
group as a whole. On the other hand, if a certain person in the group has an enormous
amount of social capital, but chooses not to interact with the other people in the
group, then there is really no increase in social capital for the group. It is not until
that person makes connections with the others in the group that the whole level of
community social capital increases. For this reason, the structural aspects of social
capital (that is, the way that people interact) are a necessary part of getting a confident
measure of social capital. This thesis emphasizes the structural aspects of social
networks and their relationship to the concept of social capital.
Applying a Structural Perspective
Using this network-based approach to social capital with a governance
perspective, a theoretical approach is applied based on the works of leading network
11


theorists (Borgatti etal., 1998:1-36; Burt, 1979:415-435, 2000; Granovetter,
1982:105-130) and social capital authors (P. Bourdieu, 1997:46-58; Coleman,
1988:95-129; Putnam, 1995a:65-78,1995b:669-683). Research questions include: Is
it possible that the strength of weak ties can effectively increase social capital in a
community? If so, how can the nonprofit sector leverage its resources with the
government to foster these weak ties? What can the social network tell us about
social capital? What kinds of structural changes to the network increase social
capital? What can we learn about network governance from this example? Can a
model of network governance be derived from this study?
From these and similar questions, we can appreciate the key factors that
contribute to the success or failure of these nonprofit-government partnership, and
more specifically, whether AmeriCorps is succeeding in its goal to inspire a pattern
of lifelong civic engagement in order to foster the development of the much-needed
social networks and actively pursue alternative remedies for unmet social needs (C.
A. Simon, 2002:670-675) a goal often ascribed to and accomplished by the
nonprofit sector.
Using the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) program
as the empirical basis for the dissertation, we examine how nonprofit communities
that partner with the NCCC handle resource allocation and strategic planning to
construct social capital and increase the connections among the community often
credited to an increase in social capital (Jacobs, 1961; White, 2002:255-269). The
12


collaboration often consists of nonprofit organizations who sponsor (financially)
NCCC teams by providing room and board and project work for the volunteers who
have signed up to be NCCC corps members. The particular focus of this thesis is
the community level interrelations (later referred to as the weak ties and structural
holes) within the nonprofit community. This community is identified by the
sponsoring nonprofit when they identify who the most important partners are, e.g.,
other nonprofits, recipients of services, business, foundations, public agencies, and
community members. Community networks are thus perceived as tools for helping
build and sustain democratic, civic cultures (Prell, 2003:1-22), linking the assumption
that network governance is an indication of a more participatory, democratic society
to this particular study.
Social Network Analysis
As mentioned above, the actions and understanding of network governance
requires an innovative approach. If one wants to understand how different actors and
sectors are collaborating to fit into the mold of network governance, we need to
develop new methodologies and model development. One such approach is the
application of Social Network Analysis (SNA), a tool used to gather and analyze data
to explain the degree to which people connect to one another and the structural
makeup of collaborative relationship (Scott, 1991). SNA collects data on who is
connected to whom and how those connections vary and change under specified
13


circumstances. Wasserman and Faust (1994) explain that the focus on relations, and
the patterns of relations, requires a set of methods and analytic concepts that are
distinct from the methods of traditional statistics and data analysis...The social
network perspective encompasses theories, models, and applications that are
expressed in terms of relational concepts or processes. The social environment is
expressed as patterns or regularities in relationships among interacting units
referred to as structure and the corresponding quantities that measure structure and
structural variables (Wasserman and Faust, 1994: 3). The SNA approach is summed
up by Wasserman and Faust (1994: 3): many researchers have realized that the
network perspective allows new leverage for answering standard social and
behavioral science research questions by giving precise formal definition to aspects of
the political, economic, or social structure environment.
This research methodology can be applied to a variety of social inquiries in a
number of ways. For instance, applying SNA to the study of the public and nonprofit
sector is a relatively new technique in the field. Most often, a variety of quantitative
and qualitative techniques are applied to investigate how policies are initiated and
implemented and how citizens can be more involved in the political process.
However, this dissertation applies SNA to study the changing relationship patterns
within four specified communities that result because of government collaborations
with nonprofits. Each of these communities is assessed in terms of its network
structure prior to entering into collaborations with the AmeriCorps programs and then
14


again after the intervention has taken place. By studying the changes to the strength
of ties, the addition or removal of network actors, and the positioning of such actors,
we can better understand this example of network governance. SNA allows us to
determine where relationships exist (or not) and from this information, we can
determine how network structures develops resulting in a form of network
governance. This concept is based on the principle of relationship between actors
in all sectors that result in a form of governance that enables participation from
many people (not just administrators or legislators). SNA is the most appropriate
method for understanding and measuring these tendencies.
Even more specifically, SNA is used here to measure the levels of social
capital in local communities. Social capital is the sum of the resources, actual or
virtual, that accrue to an individual or group by virtue of possessing a durable
network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and
recognition (Pierre Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). To describe the impact of this
type of collaboration (i.e., network governance), bridging social capital will be used
as the dependent variable. More specifically, the type of social capital that is
evaluated here is that which is identified by open networks and measured by the
amount of weak ties and redundancy that exists in the network.
15


State-Society Synergy
This model of relationship is called state-society synergy, or, the mutually
reinforcing relations between governments and groups of engaged citizens that can
construct social capital within communities (Peter Evans, 1996:1119-1132). Even as
more work is done on the possibility of government-nonprofit partnerships as a means
to constructing social capital (Peter Evans, 1996:1119-1132; Montgomery, 2000:227-
243; Warner, 1999:373-393, 2001:187-190; Woolcock, 1998:151-208), a better
understanding of the nature of synergistic relations between state and society and the
conditions under which such relations can most easily be constructed should become
a component of future theories of development (Peter Evans, 1996:1119-1132).
Currently, there is a lack of systematic investigation and comparison of cases across
diverse sectors. This dissertation begins to address this shortcoming by thoroughly
analyzing the characteristics of the developing relationship between the federally-
funded NCCC and local sponsoring communities.
National Service. Network Theory,
and Social Capital
National service itself is an interesting policy development. The effect of
national service and its future are of concern to clients, citizens, the volunteers, and
government policymakers. Evaluation of national service programs is limited;
16


however, increased attention to the phenomenon is growing. For example, the Ford
Foundation has devoted resources to develop a network of researchers who are
charged with developing the field both in the United States and comparatively.
McBride et al. (2003) suggest that a global assessment of civic service is a first step
toward operationalizing the service concept and identifying possible trends
worldwide, but it has many limitations and presents only a cursory appraisal (15S).
Hodgkinson (2004:184S-197S) suggests a research agenda on civic service that will
include defining civic service, the purposes of civic service, and the impact of civic
service programs.
Some suggest that research on national service lacks rigor (Hodgkinson 2004,
Perry and Imperial 2001). Hodgkinson (2004) notes that other than the
psychological impacts of service on the server, there is little other serious available
research on the impact of different types of civic or citizen service on communities or
nations (191S) and Sherraden (2001) concludes that a knowledge gap exists due to a
fuzziness of the concept, lack of theoretical specificity, and insufficient empirical
evidence on impacts. The Center for Social Developments 2003 survey, The
Forms and Nature of Civic Service: A Global Assessment (McBride, Benitez, and
Sherraden 2003) found that most civic service programs were not evaluated. This
thesis will contribute to the effort to add rigor to the study of national service by
introducing an evaluation tool (Social Network Analysis) to assess the effect of
national service programs on nonprofit community structures.
17


A Roadmap for the Thesis
The chapters that follow outline a framework for exploring the NCCC-
nonprofit collaboration as an example of network governance. Chapter Two presents
a brief history of national service in the United States, thus setting the stage for the
subsequent analysis. Chapter Three is a literature review of the relevant topics,
including a discussion on the development of social capital theories from
deTocquevilles study of the American political and social systems in the 1830s to
Robert Putnams more current Bowling Alone (1995a:65-78, 2000a:539), which
suggests that social capital is in decline in the United States. The second section is a
discussion of network governance, that is, the trends and historical occurrences that
have led to the wave of interest and instances of network governance situations. The
third section of Chapter Three discusses the current development of network theories
and goes into detail in regard to the different ways that relational ties can be evaluated
and analyzed to make claims about the networks affects. In this section, the first two
sections are synthesized by explaining the use of social networks as a proxy measure
of social capital. The fourth section introduces the concept of a state-society synergy,
that is, the beneficial results of collaborations between the public and nonprofit
sector. The conclusion that a predominant model of organizational design for this
type of collaboration is yet undeveloped is discussed.
18


Chapter Four outlines the research design and methods used to gather data
from the four communities of study. The selection of communities, procedures for
gathering data, and specifics about data analysis are mentioned in this chapter.
Chapter Five details the data analysis and seeks to illustrate the changes to the
network structures both pre- and post-intervention. In this section, each community is
individually discussed. Chapter Six brings this all together in a discussion of the
findings and sums up the research with a conclusion, an outline for future research,
and limitations.
19


CHAPTER 2
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NATIONAL
SERVICE IN AMERICA
National service is often historically thought of as a form of military service,
but more generically may be described as a subset of volunteerism (McBride &
Sherraden, 2004:3S-7S). Simply, it is a social phenomenon that serves the nations
needs by providing volunteers to address and alleviate social problems and gaps in
services for the underserved. National service is distinguished in this research from
military service, which prior to WWII (and for a period during the Civil War) was
also a volunteer-based institution. In this usage, national service is considered a
different form of service entirely from military service. Sherraden (2001) refer to
national service by the similar term, civic service that is defined as an organized
period of substantial engagement and contribution to the local, national, or world
community, recognized and valued by society, with minimal monetary compensation
to the participant. This chapter outlines the history of national service and the policy
implications surrounding this issue.
The term service has widely different meanings in different languages and
cultures (McBride and Sherraden 2004, Perry and Thomson 2003) and has yet to be
defined consistently throughout its various venues of discussion. For some, service
20


has a commercial connotation (describing good business results) while others refer to
service as a form of military service. Coupling service with the civic begins to
provide some clear meaning to what is meant when those in the national service realm
refer to as service practices. Civic service is primarily a product of the 20th century,
purposefully constructed to enhance personal, societal, and economic development
and environmental protection. McBride and Sherraden (2004), two of the most
influential researchers in the field of national service (and forceful advocates of
developing civic service into a new field of study), have suggested that we consider a
new word to describe the volunteer/mission driven nature of civic service servus
(that is, a combination of the words service and serve us). Although the adoption of
this new language is as of yet not widely accepted, the suggestion that we develop a
new language to talk about this social phenomenon indicates the importance of this
area of research and the prominence of civic service in the future of our country.
Civic Service and Volunteerism
Civic service has been challenged in terms of its appropriateness as a type of
volunteerism. After all, in some countries, civic service is mandatory. McBride,
Benitez, and Sherraden (2004) found that nine national service programs are
mandatory, with the majority of these located in Sub-Saharan African. Almost all are
full-time, with required length of service ranging from six months to 24 months.
Although national service (both mandatory and voluntary) provides the same benefits
21


to local communities as traditional forms of volunteerism, some question whether
service that provides stipends and health insurance to its full and part-time members,
and sometimes mandatory terms of service, can be classified in the same arena of
volunteerism as we have traditionally classified this type of service. It is hard to deny
however, the implication that all service is compensated in some way, either
monetarily or through emotional reinforcements.
Although Putnam (1995a:65-78, 1995b:669-683) has indicated that social
capital, and with that, civic participation, in the United States is in decline, other
researchers have indicated that volunteerism has increased nearly 20 percent since
the 1970s (Gross, 1999:378-415). (Putnam himself identifies volunteerism as a
source of social capital (1995a). Both better education and wealthier societies are
trends associated with increases in volunteerism. Because Americans live in an age
when more people are better educated and wealthier than at other points in history, it
makes sense that volunteerism is on the rise. But we need to ask: how does this
increase relate to civic service?
In general, there is confusion about the difference between volunteerism and
civic service. Volunteerism, community service, civic service, and national service
are terms often interchangeably used to refer to varying activities, and yet there is no
clear understanding in what the difference is between the activities. Volunteerism has
long been an integrated part of the American fabric. Examples are American soldiers
who volunteered for service during the War for Independence and the many
22


womens groups who offered assistance to the needy during the same time period
(Noel et al., 1998). However, discussions that use the term service are a relatively
new (within the 20th century) part of both the political and voluntary sector dialogues.
The debates around federally funded forms of civic service have resulted in even
more confusion around this issue. Merrill Associates, in their recent
recommendations to the Ohio Governors Community Service Commission to
develop Ohios Unified State Plan for Service, helped to clarify the confusion:
Volunteerism in the United States has traditionally been associated
with the Judeo-Christian ethic of helping ones neighbor. The word
itself has been linked to the Latin word velle meaning to wish or
will and is defined as one who enters into or offers himself of his
own free will. Today the term service is most often linked with
government-sponsored initiatives designed to foster an ethic of
national civic service among youth. (Merril, 2005)
Most scholars agree that all of these terms are similar in meaning, yet still do
not mean the same thing. Perhaps aggregating these various terms into one category
of volunteerism limits the ability of each area from developing as its own unique
category with specific needs and characteristics. McBride and Sherraden (2004:3S-
7S) suggest that civic service is indeed a form of volunteerism, albeit one that lies on
the more structured end of a continuum of volunteerism. What is clear is that the
process of defining how citizens can be and are engaged in their communities is
ongoing and will continue to be debated, particularly in the various forms of
volunteerism. The how, who, and when of volunteering is a dynamic area of research
that often cannot keep up with the needs of a changing population. The debate
23


around whether a volunteer can be financially compensated exists today in
academic literature, the media, and legislatively. Should compensation include more
in the form of financial compensation and other benefits than the traditional
returns of altruistic behavior? Alternative programs such as AmeriCorps have opened
the door to new ways for citizens to be involved in their communities, while
simultaneously creating a research gap in third sector research regarding these various
alternatives to traditional volunteering. Americas long-standing tradition of civic
engagement is an indication that these alternative forms of volunteerism will be
supported and fostered, both by citizens and by the government (deTocqueville,
1835a).
The role of government in terms of volunteerism adds an additional point of
discussion for the nonprofit sector. Fukuyama (1995; Francis Fukuyama:75) argues
that the fostering of the voluntary sector is not a role appropriate for government, but
most refute this point, indicating that trends such as devolution (or the privatization of
government services) leave the country with no other alternative but to integrate the
activities of government and nonprofits (Smith and Lipsky, 1993). Merrill Associates
(2002) lay out a framework for the integration of government and the voluntary
sector, arguing that:
Citizen participation is vital for healthy, caring communities and that the
collective actions of those who share a commitment to a common cause is
extremely powerful.
24


Volunteerism, national and community service, and service-learning
experiences are distinct forms of citizen participation by which people in a
free society act on their beliefs and initiate/impact social change.
Volunteerism, service, and service learning experiences foster individual
growth and self-esteem, build relationships, contribute to the quality of life in
the community, and strengthen civil society.
The role of government is to strengthen and promote volunteerism and service
by encouraging its citizens to become engaged, by reducing obstacles and by
creating an environment that enables individuals and groups to become
involved.
The Policy Cycles of Civic Service
The Center for Social Developments The Forms and Nature of Civic Service:
A Global Assessment (McBride et al., 2003) identified 210 civic service programs
around the world. The United States houses 51 of these programs and boasts the most
institutionalized civic service infrastructure. Perry (2004:167S-183S) states the
origins of civic service in North America are rooted deeply in the cultural and
political institutions of the three nation states [Canada, Mexico, and the United
States]...the historical development of civic service in North America tends to follow
an episodic and cyclical pattern...in terms of cyclical windows of opportunity
(168S).
National service has consistently been an important issue in American public
policy. Traditionally, the typical form of national service has been military service.
Perry (2004:167S-183S) identifies four distinct cycles of national service policy
development during the 20th century. The first cycle he identifies as civic service as
25


a remedy for the depression (Perry, 2004: 168S). President Franklin D. Roosevelt
took the national trauma of the Great Depression as an opportunity to develop an
alternative form of national service on when he created the Civilian Conservation
Corps (CCC). The CCC employed more than 3 million underprivileged youth during
the Great Depression when little work was to be found, and provided them with
certain physical and moral standards by which they could improve their lot
(Gorham, 1992). The CCC was a way for President Roosevelt to incorporate the two
primary policy areas of his New Deal administration: the economy and conservation
of natural resources (Hill, 1990). The Detroit New Library (Zacharias, 2005)
reported that Roosevelt told Congress, We can take a vast army of the unemployed
out into healthful surroundings, we can eliminate to some extent at least the threat
that enforced idleness brings to spiritual and moral stability." The CCC was quite
successful, not only providing a way for young men (and an occasional woman) to
bring home an income, but also resulting in the creation of numerous state and
national parks and the infrastructures for governmental facilities and communication
networks.
26


Figure 2.1 Volunteers Sign Up for the CCC in April 1933 (Zacharias 2005).
Following the implementation of the CCC, Roosevelt also introduced the
Works Administration Program (WPA) a massive employment relief program
launched in the spring of 1935. This program has been called the largest and most
important of the New Deal cultural programs (Basil, 1944:146-147). Although this
program did not expand on the role of service as a requirement for benefits, it does
indicate the accomplishments of Roosevelt towards addressing the countrys
economic needs the focus of the second policy cycle.
Perry (2004) identifies the second cycle of national service policy
development as the move towards fighting poverty. By the early 1960s, poverty
was increasingly apparent (Harrington, 1981), leading President John F. Kennedy to
promise a New Frontier the promotion of his ideal that poverty could be
systematically overcome at home and abroad. The most significant result of the
27


adoption of President Kennedys idealism by the American people was the creation
and subsequent success of the Peace Corps. The early achievements of the Peace
Corps laid the platform for public support of the development of later service
programs. Following President Kennedys assassination in 1963, President Lyndon
Johnson made a marked development in the progress of national service policy,
supported by his Great Society and its hallmark War on Poverty. In an effort to
enact changes in the ways institutions addressed issues of poverty and community
empowerment, (Perry, 2004:167S-183S) President Johnson initiated new domestic
service programs, including Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), the Foster
Grandparent Program, the National Job Corps program, and the Teacher Corps.
Following the movement to alleviate poverty, the third policy cycle discussed
by Perry (2004) is one towards conservation and youth corps, which included a
movement away from changing an institution and focused instead on changing the
individual, a throwback to the ideals of the original CCC. This time period (the
1970s and 1980s) reflected less central, federally administered programs, with more
programs decentralized and operated by local administrations. Youth were the most
highly targeted group during this phase. In 1989, U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA)
and Representative Dave McCurdy (D-OK) were the first to propose that national
service be associated with federal student aid. On November 16, 1990, President
G.H.W. Bush signed their legislation into law as the National and Community
Service Act of 1990. This law emphasized national service as something for
28


underprivileged youth as a way to provide the youth of America with a common set
of norms and opportunities (Gorham, 1992) while simultaneously providing college
funding.
Subsequent to the policy cycle targeted towards youth, Perry (2004:167S-
183S) identifies the fourth policy cycle of national service as one of service as a
problem-solving strategy. The National and Community Service Act signed into law
in 1990 was actually an indication of resurgence for support of national service by the
government. Although the policy cycle in the 1970s and 1980s focused on youth
development, government support was diminishing as the effort to reduce the size and
scope of government became a primary issue. President George H.W. Bushs call to
the voluntary sector to unleash a thousand points of lights was the instigation of
policy that eventually led to the passing of the act in 1990. This law created the
Commission on National and Community Service and funded a new, nonpartisan
nonprofit called the Points of Light Foundation, whose mission was to engage more
people in volunteer service to help solve social issues (Perry, 2004).
During the 1992 campaign for President, candidate Bill Clinton made national
service an important party platform as an innovative solution to growing national and
local social problems (Waldman, 1995). In 1993, President Clinton signed into law
the National and Community Service Act of 1993, which created the first federal
bureau of national service, the Corporation for National and Community Service
(CNCS). This bill was significant not only in its creation of several new programs
29


such as the AmeriCorps programs, but explicitly developed a program that linked
national service to student federal aid. These programs offer student aid financial
assistance in exchange for a commitment of 10-12 months of volunteer service
(Waldman, 1995).
The National and Community Service Act of 1993
Moving from the development of an idealistic portrait of young people
volunteering years of their life to repay their nation to an actual law that provided
the funding, framework, and infrastructure to support such a massive program was
(and remains) difficult. Steven Waldman (1995) tracks what at first was little more
than a Clinton campaign promise, one proposing to give (in Clintons words) every
young American the chance to borrow the money necessary to go to college and pay
it back through the creation of a domestic GI bill that would ask young
Americans... to rebuild America from the peoples point of view. We can do that
with national service(Waldman, 1995). President Clinton used this as a campaign
spark to ignite interest and support for his bill the marriage of the ability-to-pay
loan plan with the national service proposal. Despite the problems with the budget
and the political resistance, the bill was passed and signed into law in 1993.
Waldman coined the term of national service as a Swiss Army Knife, one that
performed numerous useful functions in one affordable package. President Clinton
envisioned that not only would national service meet the unmet needs of this country,
30


it could bring people of all backgrounds together, while dealing with the
fragmentation and polarization that threaten the country (Waldman, 1995).
The most difficult part of creating and later implementing this law has proven
to be the lack of consistent political support for the bill. Since 1993, President
Clintons national service bill has been cancelled by the US House of
Representatives, to be saved later by the Senate, has come under fire for its
effectiveness and spending, and has been criticized as a needless initiative
(O'Beime, 2002). More recently, support has been steadily growing. In 2000, all but
one state governor signed a letter in support of the program, urging Congress to
maintain and increase the budget. With the change of administrations in 2001, many
proponents of national service feared that the AmeriCorps budget would be cut, but
President G.W. Bush initially called upon Congress to double the size of the program.
Under President Bush, legislation was proposed to expand the programs. Included in
Bushs 2003 fiscal budget proposal is an increase in the 2002 fiscal appropriation by
40% (to $297 million) and to expand the program by 50% (to 75,000) members
(CNCS, 2002a). As with many campaign promises, the increase to AmeriCorps
funding did not transpire, in fact, budget cuts to the program at the federal, state, and
local level are not uncommon. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the
Iraq War have sparked a renewed sense of nationalism that has redirected the focus
on the usefulness and need for a national service program, as well, of course,
directing funds to support American armed forces overseas. Despite these funding
31


cuts, support for national service in almost every arena is at an all-time high (Gregen,
2001:60). Advocates of the program claim that such a partnership will foster civic
responsibility, and strengthen the ties that bind us together as a people (CNCS,
2002b).
President Bush has made his own contributions to national service by creating
the US Freedom Corps, an expansion of the measures already in place, with an
emphasis on volunteering individually as often as possible, with or without the help
of national service programs. The US Freedom Corps encourages citizens to log
their community service hours through a website and recognizes various forms of
individual service through scholarships and other awards. Additionally, President
Bush has added a new dimension to national service through the implementation of
the Faith-Based and Community Initiative (FBCI). According to the CNCS, this
directive is designed
to reach out more effectively to small faith-based and community
organizations through an agency-wide initiative...to date, FBCI
activities have focused on strengthening the Corporation's existing
partnerships, forging new state and community level partnerships,
developing improved performance measures, developing toolkits (and
other technical assistance and training) geared to the needs of
grassroots groups, and removing barriers in order to be even more
welcoming to faith-based and small community organizations,
particularly throughout the federal grants process (CNCS 2005).
Most recently, the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by President
Bush on January 23, 2004, contains an historic funding increase for AmeriCorps that
will support a record 75,000 AmeriCorps members to meet needs in local
32


communities across the nation. The bill provides an increase of $167 million for
AmeriCorps over the 2003 enacted level. The funding package, agreed to during the
House-Senate conference in November 2004, reflects President Bushs budget request
and the growing bipartisan Congressional support for national and community
service.(CNCS, 2004).
Figure 2.2 An AmeriCorps Advertisement (www.americorps.org).
The AmeriCorps Structure
The empirical focus of this thesis resides in the national service program
called the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. This program is part of
the AmeriCorps programs. AmeriCorps is managed under the CNCS and consists of
33


several different branches, including VISTA, State and National, Education Award
Programs, Promise Fellows, and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).
Upon the completion of a corps members term of service, an education grant of
$4,725 is awarded to the volunteer. This money is used either to pay for college
tuition or can be used to pay back student loans. During the service year, most
AmeriCorps members are given a modest living stipend and health insurance. In
some cases, housing is also provided for the volunteer.
The NCCC is a ten-month, full-time community service program for men and
women ages 18-24. There are five NCCC campuses across the nation, each serving
its own designated region. These include campuses in California, Colorado,
Maryland, Washington DC, and South Carolina. People who volunteer for this
program come from all over the United States, each possessing a differing degree of
education and experience. Some have just finished high school, others are mid-
career, and some are college graduates. Each volunteer applies for the program and is
assigned to a campus. After a six-week training period (at a Corps member Training
Institute), corps members are dispersed throughout their region to work on projects
jointly designed in advance by the NCCC and sponsoring communities. The NCCC
places teams of 10-12 volunteers in communities beset by environmental,
educational, public safety, or human needs problems. For six to eight weeks, the
NCCC members work with a national or local nonprofit organization, engaging in
various defined community service activities. At the completion of their project, each
34


team is required to return to its home campus, complete a portfolio, detailing
accomplishments and service-learning aspects of the project, and begin training and
equipment stocking for their next project.
Sponsoring communities request that an NCCC team assist them in a
community service project in one of the areas listed above. For the purpose of this
research, the term sponsoring community was chosen because a nonprofit
organization must be awarded a grant through the CNCS, which allows it to
sponsor a NCCC team into their community. These sponsors include nonprofits
such as Habitat For Humanity, Communities In Schools, and Power Up!. The
sponsoring community includes many different members, depending on the type of
project, demographics of the community, and size/structure of the nonprofit.
The changes to the social networks of these sponsoring communities are of
particular interest. Once a sponsoring community is notified that a team will be
serving within their community, the community must position itself to not only
support the AmeriCorps team in terms of food and housing, but must provide a
network that will enable the project to be successful. This network enables this
dissertation to measure the effects of the AmeriCorps intervention on these nonprofit
sponsoring communities.
35


Conclusions
National service is rapidly becoming a vital issue that is important on many
levels. The concept of men (and eventually women) volunteering to serve their
country is a steadfast pillar in the history of this country and the American culture.
National service has since become a term used less in reference to military service
and more as a social phenomenon that serves the nations needs by providing
volunteers to address and alleviate social problems and gaps in service for the
underserved.
Socially, national service is increasingly becoming an option for addressing
the social and economic needs of communities. Devolution of government services
have forced communities to look outside of government agencies for help meeting the
needs of the underserved. Traditionally, the nonprofit sector has acted to meet
unfulfilled needs when government agencies cannot provide necessary public
services. National service programs like the AmeriCorps programs are producing
hybrid systems, allowing government resources and nonprofit personnel to come
together to meet the social and economic needs of communities.
This phenomenon is reflected in the academic community as national service
issues become increasingly important. McBride and Sherraden (2004:3S-7S)
envision a day when national service studies may become its own discipline; the
growing attention to national service by both the public and politicians could warrant
36


this claim. As with most fields, however, national service suffers from a sense of
legitimacy in terms of granting university resources to its development. As research
and policy continues to evolve on the topic, the legitimacy of the field will be
determined either as its own discipline or coupled with disciplines such as public
administration.
Perry (2004) illustrates this by tracking the policy cycles of national service
development. These cycles include civic service as a remedy for the depression, a
movement towards fighting poverty, the development of conservation and youth
corps, and a problem-solving strategy. Each of these policy cycles, according to
Perry, highlight the trends of the phenomenon and continued institutionalization of
the field. The development of the Corporation for National and Community Service
illustrates a synthesis of all of these policy cycles. This Corporation and its continued
success is an indication that national service is achieving greater legitimacy and
incrementally becoming an sustaining pillar of American culture.
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CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW
The following chapter reviews the literature that has been developed to this
point regarding the four central themes: social capital, network governance, social
network theory, and state-society synergy. These themes set the stage for the
research design and analysis that allows us to understand and explain the relationships
between nonprofits and government agencies (in this case, AmeriCorps).
Part one of this chapter describes the literature to date regarding social capital.
The social capital literature is well-developed, going arguably as far back as de
Tocquevilles studies in the late 1820s of communities and the benefits observed from
engaging in associations. Today, scholars such as James Coleman (1988:95-129,
1990:949), Pierre Bourdieu (1983:241-258, 1997:46-58, 1992) and Robert Putnam
(1993, 1995a:65-78, 1995b:669-683, 2000b:539) are credited with popularizing the
concept of social capital, and scholars continue to advance the literature. The second
section on network governance explores the benefits and motivations of network
associations, as well as the structure, function, and context that makes networking
such a multi-dimensional topic. This section addresses in particular the growing
38


trend towards network governance in terms of inter-sectoral partnerships that
influence policy initiation, implementation, and evaluation.
The literature on social networks helps us to understand how the social
structures within a community are thought to influence social capital. Here, starting
with Granovetters (1973:1360-1380) theory of the strength of weak ties and then
moving on to the benefits of network measures and the ability to strategically position
network actors (Burt, 1992), the literature is explored to examine the relationship
between networks and social capital. Finally, vital to the understanding of the state-
society synergy and to avoid limiting the research, a review of organizational design
describes those organizations considered best-suited for this type of relationship. The
discussion of synergy created by state-society collaborations is new and unique to that
literature. Identifying the most appropriate organizational model for blending the
values of nonprofits and government agencies is difficult and as yet undeveloped.
This section reviews the literature in terms of identifying organizational alternatives
that enable successful (synergistic) activity between the sectors.
Social Capital
Alexis de Tocquevilles greatly influential Democracy in America
(deTocqueville, 1835b), an early examination of the fledgling United States as well as
the importance of Americas voluntary associations, continues to influence many
social scientists today and serves as a touchstone for many discussions regarding the
39


nonprofit sector (Etzioni, 1988; Morone, 1990; ONeill, 1989). De Tocqueville
openly marveled at the freedom afforded Americans in their desire to form voluntary
associations and promote their collective wills. He tied the benefits of association to
a more democratic political life by concluding that when a people have a knowledge
of public life, the notion of association, and the wish to coalesce... [it] imparts a desire
of union, and teaches the means of combination to numbers of men who would have
always lived apart (deTocqueville, 1835b). This spirit of association is essentially
the soul of many nonprofits, and, by extension, social capital.
De Tocquevilles observations have led succeeding generations to question:
Why was America such an extraordinary place in the 1830s and how does the
America of that period differ from present-day America in terms of community
structure and citizen participation? More contemporaneously, the central question
has changed: why do people not trust government nowadays (Nye et al., 1997)?
Fukuyama (1995) describes the vast impact trust can have on a society's ability to
compete globally as well as solve local problems. Many scholars have pointed to the
level of participation in government activities as an indication of a declining support
for government (P. deLeon, 1997:80-93; Dryzek, 1990:1-254; Fischer, 1989:941-
951, 1998:129-147; Light, 1997) and suggested that a greater degree of participatory
democracy will aid in improving the public perception of government.
In America, we seem to prefer voluntary associations to participation in
government, but according to Putnam (1995a), public participation in general is
40


declining. Putnam asks whether the spirit of association has so deteriorated in the
last 50 years that a review by de Tocqueville today would speak of the uninterested,
selfish citizen. Putnam (1993, 1995a:65-78, 2000b:539) has argued that American
civil society looks weaker today than it did in the recent past. He cites not only
decreased interest in politics as a demonstration of declining social capital, but also
includes other social indicators, such as the lack of formal membership affiliation
(Putnam, 1995a:65-78) and even informal relationships (e.g. memberships in bowling
leagues or participation in family picnics) (Putnam, 2000). This presumption of
deterioration of civil society has fostered concern over the withering of Americas
stock of social capital, leading to divisions in society, lower economic performance,
and reduced living standards in local communities.
On an optimistic note, discussions regarding the increase or decrease of social
capital in terms of civic participation recently have focused on the rise of
volunteerism. Citizens are credited today for volunteering at greater levels than in
recent history (McBride et al. 2003). This evidence of greater civic participation in
various forms of volunteerism (mentioned in Chapter Two) challenges Putnams
claims that social capital is decreasing. However, Putnam himself notes that civic
participation can and will continue to be evident in different ways as time progresses.
For example, the internet allows citizens to participate in ways that were not
measured in deTocqueville and Putnams groundbreaking research. The preference
of citizens to participate in civic life through volunteerism (rather than political or
41


other activities) is a sign that social capital can increase; however, this does not
account for all of the loss of social capital indicated by Putnam (1995a:65-78,
2000a:539).
Serious scholarship around the concept of social capital is rather recent, and
we do not really know whether social capital in 1830 or 1950 is different from social
capital in 2005. While some scholars suggest that technology, such as the internet,
has led to a decline in social capital because of decreased human interaction (Nie &
Erbring, 2000; Putnam, 1995a:65-78), others (Taube, 2004:227-241) suggest that the
number of people with whom we identify as having a relationship with has increased
because of the ease with which we can maintain communication (e.g. email). Taubes
(2004:227-241) research supports his claim; persons [who] claimed not to use the
Internet show a lower average volume of social contacts to close friends than do
people with medium or intense Internet use... from this point of view social capital as
support capital seems to be positively related to the intensity of Internet use. The
debate between closed, homogenous networks and open, heterogenic (fostered by
intense internet use) ones is yet unsettled, but as the research unfolds, it becomes less
and less clear whether social capital is indeed in decline or merely presenting itself in
different forms (Burt, 2001).
Before Putnam popularized the concept of social capital, it was first
introduced by Bourdieu (1983:241-258) and Coleman (1988:95-129, 1990:949).
Bourdieu (1983: 248) defined social capital as the aggregate of the actual or
42


potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or
less institutionalized relationships in a group. More than a simple network of ties,
Bourdieu continued, social capital depends on the development of relationships that
are at once necessary and elective, implying durable obligations subjectively felt
(feeling of gratitude, respect, friendship, etc.) (1983: 249-50). For Bourdieu, the
volume of social capital possessed by a given agent...depends on the size of network
connections he can effectively mobilize and on the volume of the capital possessed in
his own right by each of those to whom he is connected (P. Bourdieu, 1983:241-
258). Bourdieus work, although often referenced in the social capital literature, has
only recently been returned to prominence because of the growing interest in the
network-based structure of social capital (Matthews, 2003:1-27).
Sociologist James Coleman defined social capital in a functional way, based
on the makeup of two components some aspect of social structure and the
facilitation of action by individuals within the structure. Like physical and human
capital, social capital allows the accomplishment of activities that would not be
possible in its absence. Coleman wrote that social capital is defined by its
function... with two elements in common: [it] consists of some aspect of social
structures, and facilitates certain action of actors...with the structure (Coleman,
1988:95-129). De Leon (1997:40) explains Colemans social capital...is a
watermark of personal trust, one that permits society and its members to function
independently of one another but with some tangible degree of confidence in the
43


other members dependability. Further, social capital is a resource for individuals
within a group who can use it for production of individual or collective ends.
This functional approach to measuring social capital has been criticized as
well as honored. Some have found that the functional approach fails to adequately
distinguish what social capital is from what it supposedly does (Lin, 2001; Matthews,
2003:1-27; Portes & Landolt, 1996:18-22). An example of why the lack of this
distinction is a problem can be seen when we examine the social capital of
communities whose large stock of social capital could be used as a means of harm.
Specifically, terrorist groups might be assessed in terms of having high levels of
social capital because they are strongly connected, membership is numerous,
commitments are strong, and participation is active. This group might have all the
elements of a model community in terms of social capital development. However,
we must question whether social capital, in this case, should be lauded. For example,
if we assume the September 11th terrorists and their shared community proved to be
extremely effective in their work, primarily because they had mastered the art of
social capital development, then we can guess that the end result might be the death
of millions of unwanted people (Krebs, 2002). As we study and talk about social
capital, it is important to make these kinds of distinctions. In its rawest form, this
group can possibly be used as an illustration of how to develop some type of capital,
but if we do not distinguish between social capital and other forms of capital, then we
will end up with a very confusing message.
44


Putnam (1995a:65-78) built on Colemans work defining social capital as the
features of social organizations, such as networks, norms, and social trust that
facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit. In 1995, Putnam
suggested that a decline in social capital was threatening the U.S. social fabric in his
popular article Bowling Alone, resulting in an invitation to the White House to
discuss the concept with President Bill Clinton. According to some (Matthews,
2003:1-27), Putnams initial analyses of the concept represent the source for
defining social capital...Putnam is reputed to have been the most widely cited social
scientist in the 1990s. Although Putnams work still has a primary focus on norms
and trust as measures, he now more clearly grounds his understanding of social
capital in a network-based approach (Taube 2004).
Although most will agree that social capital is a positive quality, this might
not always be true. Social capital is often viewed as beneficial when groups of people
are highly connected and strongly related. Negatively, this action could serve as a
means of excluding those that might seem undesirable to a certain group. Portes
and Landolt (Portes & Landolt, 1996:18-22) argue that social capital may restrict the
opportunities of outsiders to a community and may inhibit personal freedom.
Exclusion can serve to foster stereotypes and limit accesses to resources available
only to group members. This type of exclusionary social capital is evidenced in
organizations like fraternities and county clubs. Historically, people have fought
against the continuation of exclusion as an acceptable practice in these types of
45


organizations. The Civil Rights Movement made tremendous strides in pushing for
inclusion and acceptance of diversity in public and private organizations. Social
capital, if constructed around this concept of group membership implies that only
those who are deemed reliable and beneficial to the greater community should
gain entry. However, if we take a close look at the goals of social capital, we will
see that most scholars refer to its benefits as a community effect, not a particular
group effect. The idea that a closed network of people can foster community level
social capital is debatable (Burt, 2001). This research explores the alternative to
closed networks and investigates how greater variance (diversity) within a network
can increase social capital. This type of social capital, examined in terms of its
network structure diversity, is henceforth called in this thesis bridging social
capital, which should be distinguished from social capital as a monolithic term.
Social Networks as Proxy for Social Capital
In more recent years, determining the social capital of a community or group
based upon its social structure has been applied to theories of social network analysis.
Ron Burt (1992, 1997:339-368) and Nan Lin (1999:28-51, 2001, 1986:365-385,
1981:393-405) led these discussions in the early 1990s by introducing theories of
structural holes and social structure.
According to Burt (1992: 9), social capital has two criteria,
46


First, it is a thing owned jointly by the parties in a relationship...if
you or your partner in a relationship withdraws, the connection, with
whatever social capital it contained, dissolves. Second, social capital
concerns rate of return in the market production equation... through
relations with colleagues, friends, and clients come the opportunities
to transform financial and human capital into profit.
Lin (1999:28-51) emphasizes the structural role of the individual in terms of a
persons ability to gain returns in instrumental actions or preserve gains in
expressive actions. Much like human capital, social capital from Lins perspective is
an aggregate determinant of the way that people interact with one another. Two
important characteristics make up the aggregate total of social capital from this
perspective: how individuals invest in social relations, and how individuals capture
the embedded resources in the relation to generate a return of social capital.
Networks themselves are a form of social capital (the actual relationships
between actors can result in a variety of social network outcomes, as illustrated in the
following sections), but empirical research on this area is lacking in the literature.
This thesis addresses this important, yet understudied, aspect of social capital by
examining various network structures and their network benefits. Most work done to
date indicates network size as a proxy for social capital development. For example,
larger networks have been shown to enable people to obtain higher paying jobs
(Boxman et al., 1991:51-73) and live longer (Berkman, 1979:186-204). To note,
however, network theorists are continually furthering the concept that the shape and
distribution of the network is as important to social capital as the density of the
47


network. Both Burt (1992) and Lin (1999, 2001) embrace the idea that who is
involved in the network is important and most of their work focuses more on how the
network is constructed. Burts findings indicate that the who and how questions are
so strongly correlated that by yielding general explanations from how the network is
connected allows him to reconstruct much of the phenomenon from the who
component (Burt 1993: 13). In other words, he assumes that a player with a network
optimized for structural holes can identify suitably endowed contacts (Burt, 1993:
44).
In contrast to Burts theory that open networks with more structural holes
(non-redundant ties) make for better connected networks, Coleman (1988, 1990)
assesses the risks of brokerage positions and implies that networks with closure -
that is to say networks in which everyone is connected such that no one can escape
the notice of others, which in operational terms usually means a dense network are
the source of social capital (Burt, 2001: 8). It is, then, unclear whether open or
closed networks are better models for increased social capital.
These social capital theorists can be categorized into two different ways of
thinking about social capital. This includes two perspectives: social capital as
bonding capital- meaning networks and relationships of trust between individuals -
and social capital as bridging capital- meaning the networks and interrelationships
within communities and external organizations, agencies, and resources. Coleman
and Putnam have traditionally inclined closer to the school of bonding capital,
48


focusing on the attributes of individuals within the network and the benefits of those
attributes, coupled with connections. Bourdieu, Lin, and Burt focus more strongly on
the concept of bridging capital, i.e., social capital as measured and evaluated by
defining and analyzing the physical structure of the network. The attributes of the
actors is secondary to the structure.
Table 3.1 summarizes the differences and similarities between Putnam,
Coleman, Bourdieu, Burt, and Lin:
Table 3.1 Comparison of rominent Social Capital Theories
Measure of SC Bourdieu (1997) Coleman (1990) Putnam (1995,2000) Burt (1992, 1998) Lin (1999, 2001)
Structure depends on the size of network connections that can effectively mobilize social structure determines function (could be vertical or horizontal) depends on the size of network connections that can effectively mobilize opportunities are presented when less redundant ties exist Emphasizes the structural role of the individual in terms of persons ability to gain returns
Attribute of Individual the volume of the capital possessed in his own right by each of those to whom he is connected the more SC an individual has, the more SC to those around him the more SC an individual has, the more SC to those around him Not applicable: players who can best structure their network can also best choose actors with whom to associate Not applicable: players who can best structure their network can also best choose actors with whom to associate
Type Bridging Capital Bonding Capital Bonding Capital Bridging Capital Bridging Capital
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For the present dissertation, the working definition of social capital follows
the foundation of Burts (and in part, Bourdieus and Lins) work and is defined in
terms of bridging capital, that is, as the linkages among individuals, families, and
community associations across sectors that facilitate an elevated nature of civil
society. Although there exists a considerable variation in network-based approaches
to social capital (Adler & Kwon, 2002:17-40), most share Bourdieus view that such
approaches must study both the structure of the network and the resources contained
within the network that may be drawn by its members. Burt (1992) leans even
further away from membership attributes and studies the network structure itself.
Advocates of social capital claim that communities with larger stocks of social
capital have greater instances of successful outcomes, including both social and
economic benefits, or, as Burt says, control and information within a network (P.
Bourdieu, 1983:241-258). Putnam notes that life is easier in a community blessed
with a substantial stock of social capital...[fostering] sturdy norms of generalized
reciprocity and encouraging] the emergence of social trust (Putnam, 1995a:65-78).
Woolcock (1998) sums up Putnams finding:
One would expect communities blessed with high stocks of social
capital to be safer, cleaner, wealthier, more literate, better governed,
and generally happier than those with low stocks, because their
members are able to find and keep good jobs, initiate projects serving
public interests, costlessly monitor one anothers behavior, enforce
contractual agreements, use existing resources more efficiently,
resolve disputes more amicably, and respond to citizens concerns
more promptly (155).
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One of the most difficult aspects of studying and communicating about social
capital is the lack of a baseline measurement for how to consider high and low levels
of social capital. The resounding question what is the baseline? continues to baffle
even the most precise researcher. James Q. Wilson (in deLeon 1997) points out that
we have no baseline calculations of social capital, as observed in say 1960 and 2000,
so comparisons are extremely difficult.
At times, the baseline has included levels of trust, political participation, civic
leadership and associational involvement, faith-based social capital, informal social
capital, organized group social capital, equality of civic engagement across the
community, and community volunteerism and giving (Sander, 2005). The Social
Capital Community Benchmark Survey purports that it is the largest scientific
investigation of civic engagement ever conducted in North America and even this
study admits that trends discussed are generally rather robust, but every
generalization may not necessarily be true of every part of the country, and is
probably not true for some communities represented by this survey (Sander 2005).
Given the ambiguity of this kind of data, it is unclear whether we should be confident
in the findings of this benchmark survey, or whether, like most social capital
research, we should be skeptical and proceed with the quest to somehow standardize a
baseline measure of social capital. Questions around this issue include: Can
communities with low stocks of social capital successfully increase their stock of
social capital? Or, does it take an already high level of social capital to increase the
51


stock measure? Without a baseline measure, it is unclear that claims such as
Putnams that social capital is declining are true. Other questions include who and
what types of organizations are best-suited for social capital development? Putnam
emphasized the impact of community level social capital and the civic infrastructure
of social networks that collectively result in action, but pointedly observes that
nonprofit organizations will not necessarily be the best avenue to social capital wealth
(Putnam, 1995a:65-78, 1995b:669-683).
Using a network-based approach to measuring social capital brings its own set
of criticisms. Many critics fear that network-based approaches are too narrow and
that they could possibly leave out numerous critical dimensions of the relationships
that could explain various social phenomena. If this were the case, then research on
network-based approaches to social capital could become moot. However, as the
Canadian report on social capital based on a network-based approach explains:
...such concerns may be misplaced. While network-based approaches
to social capital may be more modest and parsimonious than functional
definitions, this may in fact greatly increase the potential explanatory
power over the longer term. Rather than opening the door to an ever-
expanding list of social resources that are purported to function as
enablers of collective action, defining social capital in terms of social
networks allows one to better define the concept, distinguishing it both
from other forms of capital and from its purported effects. This in turn
allows for more careful empirical testing of the theorized connections
between the determinants of social capital, its outcomes, and social
capital itself. Moreover, it does not force one to conclude that social
capital is absent if its theorized effects are not perceptible (Matthews,
2003:1-27).
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Limiting a study to a network-based approach does not restrict the researcher
from exploring other aspects of relationships that might increase social capital,
including norms, trust, institutions, and the overall sociological environment (F.
Fukuyama, 1995). Most importantly, a network-based approach provides a common
conceptual focus on social capital, as social networks provide a means of ensuring
consistent measurement across a variety of research and policy applications
(Matthews, 2003:1-27). This contribution may be the most valuable in terms of
filling in the gaps regarding social capital measures, in terms of what they mean, what
the differences portend, and their subsequent policy implications.
Social Capital as a Policy Tool
A question addressed in much of the social capital literature asks whether
social capital can somehow be constructed, and, if so, how? A further question
involves if and how the public sector can be involved in the construction of social
capital. While some argue that the government is ill-suited to act as the initiator of
social capital development (Etzioni, 1993; F. Fukuyama, 1995), others argue for a
central role for government in this effort (P. Evans, 1995; Smith & Lipsky, 1993).
Furthermore, in Salamons (1984:108-126) view, nonprofit organizations represent an
unusual opportunity to improve the relationship between government and voluntary
institutions in order to deal with the nations social problems.
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The focus on social capital has reached many levels of society. Not only are
scholars developing an understanding of the theory, policymakers have also taken
notice of the opportunities that increased social capital can produce because of
evidence that communities with high levels of social capital outperform communities
lacking this resource (Campbell, 2000:641; Gittell & Vidal, 2001:196; Montgomery,
2000:227-243; Purdue, 2001:221-234; Robinson & Williams, 2001:52-71). Hudson
and Chapman (2002) note that the conceptualization of social capital that emerged in
the 1980s and 1990s attracted the attention of federal policymakers... these concerns
motivated, for example, the National and Community Service Act of 1990 and the
federal initiative to establish the Corporation for National and Community Service
(CNCS) in 1993. The creation of this organization is an example of the importance
placed on social capital development by federal policymakers.
The Corporation itself reflects the focus on social capital. The mission
statement of the CNCS reads: The Corporation will foster civic responsibility,
strengthen the ties that bind us together as a people, and provide educational
opportunity for those who promise to serve(CNS, 2002). In 2002, President George
W. Bush signed into law the bipartisan Citizen Service Act that strengthen[s] and
reform[s] national service programs" (Bush, 2002) to ...build a culture of
citizenship, service, and responsibility (Lenkowsky, 2002). The AmeriCorps
program is one attempt by policymakers to redress a perception that American civil
society and Americans sense of citizenship is in decline.
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To be sure, the possibility that public policy can construct or augment social
capital is arguable; in some cases, even war has been identified as a method for
increasing stocks of social capital by rallying people in a patriotic manner. Following
the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, social capital changes have not only
been cited as a consequence, but also as a national research priority...strengthening
social capital has become one component of the governments recovery efforts
(Hudson & Chapman, 2002). Indeed, the CNCS has drawn much criticism from
conservative policymakers who question the notion that paid volunteers and large
federal programs will foster communities sense of self-sufficiency and personal
responsibility, thereby increasing social capital (Anonymous, 1990:131-160;
O'Beime, 2002).
Traditionally, the government has concerned itself with fostering and
regulating physical, human, and monetary capital. The construction of social capital
has, until now, been tacitly delegated to the community in general, and of late, the
nonprofit sector. At times however, the government has used public policy
instruments to shape Americans sense of community. For instance, public education
played a key role in Americanizing generations of immigrants and improving
public health (W. Stone & Quiroz-Gibson, 2004:74-96). Still, these are important
questions that must be addressed before government can become an influential actor
in the construction of social capital.
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Quite often, policymakers will use social capital (without quite using this
phrase) as a means of winning support for policies exogenous to the purposes of
those that originally contributed to it (Montgomery, 2000:227-243), that is,
policymakers use references to social capital to invoke the desired support for other
goals. Montgomery (2000: 228) argues that it is important to study social capital and
its policy implications in order to shed light on the strategies and tactics employed in
its use.
The NCCC could be referenced in the way Montgomery has suggested, as a
policy that uses social capital as a secondary goal, but this is unnecessary. The
implementation of the AmeriCorps programs to increase social capital is presented as
a primary goal of the program, although again, not in that exact language. Former US
Senator (D-PA) and later-CEO of the CNCS, Harris Wofford, in his 1996 testimony
before the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, stated the
primary purpose of national service is helping to solve the critical problems of our
communities and our countries and to connect communities with the resources
available to them. For this reason, the NCCC is unlike other government policies or
initiatives in that its main purpose is to increase social capital, at the community level,
through the creation of linkages that will enable community success (Wofford, 1996).
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Network Governance: Governance in a Changing Society
As we focus on social capital, including interrelationships and their benefits, it
is evident that this concept can be applied to a number of areas. In the political realm,
interrelationships and the synergy resulting from many people within all sectors
becoming involved in the political process is evidence that governance is becoming
an intersectoral function. The example here of the AmeriCorps NCCC/nonprofit
relationship provides a platform to study such things as intersectoral collaborations.
As mentioned in Chapter Two, the NCCC was modeled after the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the
Depression. However, as a comparison, the NCCC fits best into the model of
network governance while the CCC followed a more hierarchical framework. The
CCC was a government agency that directly employed young men for $30 a week to
work on government-initiated projects. This was a program funded by the
government, initiating its own projects. The NCCC differs from this organizational
design by collaborating with local nonprofits and government agencies as a means to
alleviate societal problems identified by the local community (a form of network
governance or some collaboration).
As societal problems grow more prominent in the larger global community,
traditional forms of governance are increasingly insufficient to handle the scope of
the issues. Particularly, at the local level, attention is needed to determine how
57


community problems should be addressed and by which sector (public, private, or
nonprofit). The identification by local government of the need for governance that
moves away from the traditions of markets and hierarchies leads us to explore
alternative approaches. The limitations on traditional governance models and the
distribution of authority due to the nature of complex local problems demand a new
model of leadership (Chaiton et al., 2000). The older order of things, historically
characterized by strong central governments and tightly bordered national economies,
is giving way to new forms of collaboration and network relationships. This section
of the thesis shifts away from social capital construction and measurement and
discusses the recent explosion of network governance as an alternative to traditional
practices.
Traditional Governance: Markets and Hierarchies
Historically, governance could be placed somewhere in the dichotomy of
markets and hierarchies (Powell, 1990:295-336). Governance in a market
environment is characterized by benefits such as choice, flexibility, and opportunity.
Less trust is required in a market environment because legal sanctions, price
requirements, and clearly specified exchanges are the accepted norm. Quite often,
little personal involvement is necessary and future commitments are rare. This type
of environment is considered straightforward, non-repetitive, and requires no
transaction-specific investments (Powell, 1990:295-336). In other words, the less
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knowledge required to perform the transaction, the more appropriate the market
approach.
However, when governance requires more specific, contingent considerations,
it has historically been more common for stakeholders to fall back on the bureaucratic
(hierarchical) approach. Unlike markets, hierarchies are characterized by a visible
hand of management, defined roles of paternalism, and boundaries that expand to
internalize transaction and resource flows. Strengths of the hierarchical form of
governance include reliability, specified and transparent forms of accountability, and
the ability to expand into mass production. Powell cites two reasons why in some
firms the market form of governance will not suffice. First, limited rationality (or
what Simon (1982) called bounded rationality) disables economic actors from
writing contracts that can include all possible contingencies. Second, opportunism,
the rational pursuit by economic actors of their own environments, can often only be
mitigated by a vertical structure of governance that is, authority relations.
Today, it is increasingly clear that neither markets nor hierarchies are serving
as sufficient forms of governance for organizations such as government and private
entities. Instead firms are blurring their established boundaries and engaging in
forms of collaboration that resemble neither the familiar alternative of arms length
market contracting nor the former ideal of vertical integration (Powell, 1990:295-
336). Instead, governance is falling somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, not
even as a hybrid form of the two, but rather a new form of organizational governance
59


(Williamson, 1975). Linda deLeon (1994:234-253) defines network characteristics as
flat and unstructured and suggests that this type of governance lends itself to an
alternative type of organizational design anarchy, which is benign under conditions
where there is consensus or values.
Goldberg (1980:337-352) notes that much economic activity today takes
place within long-term, complex, multiparty contractual relationships and that now
behavior is in various degrees sheltered from market forces. In other words, many
market exchanges have been replaced by interorganizational collaborations. The
dominant reason that traditional forms of governance no longer provide the guidance
to reach successful outcomes is because certain forms of exchange are more social -
that is, more dependent on relationships, mutual interests, and reputation as well as
less guided by a formal structure of authority (Powell, 1990:295-336). Kamarck
(2002:227-263) notes that years of decentralization, devolution, and outsourcing have
led to a world of network government (see also Hajer and Wagenaar 2003).
Network Governance: An Alternative to Markets
and Hierarchies
Although there are multiplicities of governance options in the local arena,
collaborative forms of governance are a favored alternative. These new associative
mechanisms appear to be much more capable than traditional public sector models of
effectively engaging business, leveraging their resources and commitment, and
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undertaking collaborative-based projects (Chaiton et ah, 2000). Chrislip and Larson
(1994) suggest that successful collaboration shifts the focus from parochial interests
to the broader concerns of community. The partnerships between the public and
nonprofit sector (the AmeriCorps/Nonprofit relationships as an example) are forms of
collaboration that elicits characteristics of network governance.
Types of Network Governance Structure
Multisectoral networks do not constrain themselves to one sector, but borrow
from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to encompass the diversity of
challenges and opportunities. The benefits of a multisectoral network include that it
a) reflect the changing roles and relative importance among the network; b) pulls
diverse groups and resources together; and c) addresses issues that no group can
resolve by itself (Witte et al., 2002). Quite often the only way that a network can be
sufficiently innovative to produce sustainable results is to be diverse. According to
Witte, Reinicke, et al. (2002), the major strength of networks is... diversity, not
uniformity.
We cannot assume that multisectoral networks do not have pitfalls that would
make them an inappropriate structure for governance. For example, the possibility
that a network will be too large to reap the benefits that it could possibly offer is very
real, for example, when the network is not complete (in other words, isolates exist
within it). Another risk in the multisectoral network lies in the possibility the
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network will become overly structured, no longer diverse. That is, the strength of
the many weak ties that might be created within a network can be lost if the network
becomes too homogenous.
The Challenges of Network Governance
Network governance is particularly challenging due to the attempt to
coordinate the multiple levels of government as well as with non-govemmental
organizations of various kinds. The separate rules, norms, and accountabilities in
each sector often conflict. This can lead to a lack of authority over the governance
structure. This is particularly true in relationships that attempt to blend values from
the public sector (AmeriCorps bureaucratic-type values such as accountability) with
those of the nonprofit (mission-driven values). It is yet unclear who the appropriate
gatekeeper of accountability and rule-making ought to be. Quite often, the
nonprofit sector, because its members are dependent on government grants and
support or forced to abide by accountability standards of government organizations,
find themselves redefining their missions in order to become eligible for this support
(Milward & Provan, 2003; Salamon, 1984:108-126; Smith & Lipsky, 1993). The
resulting confusion has led to a sort of hollow state whereby the nonprofit sector is
striving to take advantage of new opportunities presented by devolution while
maintaining its mission-driven quality and client-driven characteristics. The result is
a sector unsure of how to behave; as Boisot (2002:196-198) concludes, how should
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we conceptualize a situation in which productive organizations reach beyond the
boundaries of the firms originally designed to contain them? Scholars who study
regional governance collaboration, for example, suggest cities and regions must look
to strengthen local components of governance where attention is most warranted... the
values, identities, and forums across different sectors must be joined by both common
purpose and collective action (Chaiton et al., 2000).
Other challenges of traditional forms of governance include the traditional
dilemma of economic games that is, the likelihood that actors will put their
personal gain before the common good (the problem of governance structures that
provide public goods). When a public good is offered to a community, to be shared
by all, no one really has incentive to provide it, therefore leaving the community at
risk of losing the resource altogether. For example, the tragedy of the commons
tells the story of a group of herders who are faced with the dilemma of either losing
their share of possible grazing for their herds, or allowing unlimited grazing. The
problem lies in the possibility that if one herder limits his own grazing, he will lose
because he risks the possibility that others will not limit their grazing as well. On the
other hand, if he were to allow unlimited grazing on his part, he would quickly
destroy the common resource (Harden, 1968:1243-1248; Olson, 1971). This problem
illustrates the logic of collective action everyone waits for someone elses
foolhardiness.
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Some might argue that collaboration will be best in the scenario of shared
public resources, but these dilemmas illustrate the lack of consensus on this argument.
Free riders (Olson, 1971) and lack of trust (Harden, 1968:1243-1248) can often lead
to the conclusion that collaboration is irrational. But what is also clear is that the
examples above lack the possibility of credible sanctions against defection. This
theory under-predicts voluntary cooperation and assume the dogma of John Locke
and Thomas Hobbes that predicts all people are inherently selfish and will ultimately
work toward their personal gain, regardless of the benefits of collaboration. Modem
theorist such as Putnam (1993) and Fukuyama (1995b:669-683) emphasize that trust -
- a resource that increases rather than decreases through use and becomes depleted if
not used is the key characteristic of collaborative environments that allow them to
function successfully.
Participatory Democracy and Network Governance
Lasswell (1951) proposed the position that democracy and the individuals
role in the policy process were directly connected to the perceptions of government
by the public and the overall contentment with government is improved when we
look at this field though a normative lens. P. deLeon (1997) built on Lasswells
concept of the policy sciences of democracy by identifying participatory policy
analysis as an approach that expands the range of contributors to the policy-making
process. An important characteristic of network governance lies in its characteristic
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of providing a space for many parties in all the sectors to participate in governance
issues (policy making, organizational design, and accountability and evaluation). In
this way, network governance itself is a form of participatory policy analysis, serving
to expand the range of actors involved in the making and execution of public policy
in a discursive or deliberative mode (deLeon, 1997).
Network governance, perhaps indirectly, has created a platform that brings to
life the prescriptions of scholars like Lasswell (1951), Dryzek (1990:1-254), Fischer
(1995, 1998:129-147), and deLeon (1997) who emphasize a discursive approach to
the policy stages (initiation, implementation, evaluation, etc.); that is, a policy process
that allows input from stakeholders in a fashion to support participation at many
levels. Examples of network governance that have led to policy development are
evidenced in Carlssons (2000:502-527) work regarding collective action, Benner,
Reinicke, et al.s (2002b) research on the role of global public policy networks, and
Canan and Reichmans (2001) explanation of ozone policy development through
regional network governance. Each of these examples detail the role which
participants from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can work cooperatively to
pass successful policy and alleviate societal concerns.
Different from traditional forms of suggested participatory policy analysis,
where citizens were encouraged to participate in existing policy processes, network
governance methods are policy processes initiated, managed, and conducted by
various stakeholders (legislators and government bureaucrats being only a portion of
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the actors involved). Until this point, there has been not been a more complex, yet
successful means of participatory policy analysis. In the AmeriCorps
NCCC/nonprofit collaboration, we witness public policy focused on alleviating
societal problems as a multisectoral activity nonprofits working closely with
business and government agencies. Each AmeriCorps NCCC project concludes with
a report to Congress whose purpose is to influence future policy development and
change network governance in action, as it were.
Tools for Network Governance
Networks promote change and innovation through introducing new actors,
new settings, and new modes of interaction in public policymaking. Engaging in
networks also has possible beneficial effects on the way states, international
organizations, businesses, and civil society actors conduct their business. But success
can only be achieved if all these participants are willing to question formerly
unquestioned routines and beliefs. This is hard to accept especially for powerful
actors that are used to not having to learn from others unlike themselves (Witte et
al., 2002). Although network-based collaborations have been pinpointed in the
private and nonprofit sectors as successful means of goal achievement, government
has typically been slow to respond with synergistic strategies targeted towards
common community challenges (Chaiton et al., 2000). In addition, no clear-cut
typology of networks has developed at this early stage.
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Benner et al. (2002a) identify three ideal-type characteristics of global public
policy networks that differentiate these institutional innovations from traditional,
hierarchical organizations: interdependence, flexibility, and complementarity.
Interdependence means that no one organization can tackle the issues by itself,
flexibility implies that networks are evolving in nature and must come in various
forms and shapes, and complementarity suggests that networks profit and are
sustained by the diversity of their constituency. It is in this spirit that collaboration
such as the AmeriCorps/Nonprofit partnership was established with the explicit goal
of fostering bridging social capital.
Exchanges in a network system ideally occur through reciprocal, trusting, and
mutually supportive relationships. Each actor in a network must see that s/he will not
only benefit by collaboration, but that the overarching goal will be better achieved by
working with other stakeholders. The key to governance in a network structure is the
use of resource allocation in an environment that exists not individually, but rather in
relation to other units (Burt 2002). Powell (1990:295-336) notes an important
element of the network, as networks evolve, it becomes more economically sensible
to exercise voice rather than exit...benefits and burdens come to be shared. In other
words, reciprocity is a means through which parties remain connected to one another,
and in turn, enables networks to form and work.
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Individual/Organizational Motivations
Networks-based relationships are metaphors for governance, based on
relational contracts and innovative collaborations. At the heart of networks is the
concept of social contracting. Social contracting, essentially, an interactive,
participant-driven, developmental trust-building process [that] works to create and
sustain a durable, resilient basis for effective and efficient organizational interaction
by minimizing the moral hazard of participant opportunism (Calton & Lad,
1995:271-295). Calton and Lad (1995:271-295) argue that social contracting reflects
the extent to which trust is the essential glue and lubricant for long-term, value-
creating organizational interactions, [where] effective network governance would
seem to hold the key, not only for ethical, socially responsible business performance,
but also for business survival in the ever more turbulent competitive environment.
Social contracting is based predominantly on trust and the relationships and
collaborations that are possible because of this value. A few disadvantages of the
traditional forms of governance are pointed out as falling outside the realm of trusting
relationships. These include the neoclassical economic theory that identifies efficient,
arms-length transactions between two contracting parties as the rule (Macneil,
1981:1018-1063), principal-agent theory where the firm is conceived as a contractual
microcosm of the marketplace and firms behave like a market and the people within
are selfishly rational individuals (Jensen & Meckling, 1976:305-360), and relational
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contracting based on rules under which ongoing organizational interactions are
governed.
How do we know that organizations will find it beneficial to network
throughout a community? When resources are limited, why would a nonprofit expose
itself to others, rather than keeping what little it has to itself? Hardens (1968:1243-
1248) tragedy of the commons theory describes how people are typically selfish,
norm-free, and interested in quick results. For example, the public choice model of
human interaction is the theoretical basis of the use of Common Pool Resources
(CPRs), which include natural and human-constructed resources in which exclusion
of beneficiaries through physical and institutional means is especially costly
(difficulty of exclusion), and exploitation by one user reduces resource availability for
others (subtractability). Unless rules and restrictions are enacted to deter overuse and
abuse of these resources, they will expire because of the tendency for people to take
what they can, when they want it (E. Ostrom, 1999:35-71).
Elinor Ostrom challenged Hardens claim of governance to suggest that when
people work collectively, they can effectively manage resources well (V. Ostrom &
Ostrom, 1977:157-172). Her empirical research illustrates how communication
between players increases cooperation, leading to higher instances of self-governance
and cooperation (E. Ostrom, 1999:35-71; E. Ostrom & Walker, 2002). Users who
depend on a resource for their livelihood and who have some autonomy to make their
own rules are more likely to perceive benefits from restrictions; but without a sense of
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how their use will affect others within their community, the expectations of benefits is
reduced. Users must also be interested in the sustainability of the resource so the
expected joint benefits will seem to outweigh current costs. In every situation and
over time, individual benefits must be viewed as less valuable than the benefits to the
community of users; collective-choice rules must be engaged in the governance
process. These rules, affect the breadth of interests represented and involved in
making institutional changes, and they affect decisions about which policy
instruments are adopted (E. Ostrom, 1999:35-71).
Social Networks as Social Capital
Developments in network theory and methodology have and will continue to
contribute to the advancement of the understanding of these types of collaborations.
But to understand how these types of networks work and become widespread, it is
necessary to conduct rigorous research that applies network theory and
methodological tools to various research questions. The study of social networks is
the primary area that this type of research is currently underway. In the following
section, network theories and the use of a methodological tool Social Network
Analysis are discussed, and later applied to the research questions posed in this
thesis.
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What Are Social Networks?
A social network is a set of individuals or groups who are connected to one
another through socially meaningful relationships which can include friendships,
advice sharing, work relationships, and many more (Wellman & Berkowitz, 1988).
These relationships can be mapped out to see the patterns and frequencies that emerge
among individuals, groups, or organizations (Prell, 2003:1-22). White (2002:255-
269) asserts that on all sides of the social capital debate, a common metaphor exists,
the metaphor of networks of relationships between actors and institutions... [that]
suggests that social capital is related to networks in terms of size, strength, and
resources possessed by those in the network...analysis of social capital should focus
on social relations and networks (256).
As a recap, Bourdieu (1997:46-58) views social capital as an aggregate of
networked individuals within a membership and sees the accumulation of resources
that are inherent in these networks as individual benefits that provides each of its
members with collectively owned capital. In contrast, Coleman (1990) builds on
Granoveters (1973:1360-1380, 1982:105-130) research, assuming that social
relations are embedded in networks of relations between individuals. White
(2002:255-269) clarifies,
The unit of analysis is at the level of individuals in networks, and
like Bourdieu, it is relational and not attributional, but unlike
Bourdieu it is structural and functional and not used to explain
differences in power...for Coleman, social capital is on how
actors can use their networks (structure) to achieve their
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interests, whereas Bourdieu sees networks as a unit of analysis to
understand inequities and economic injustices.
Burt (1992) has developed measures of bridging social capital based solely on the
network structure, the number and types of ties in a network. Lin (1999:28-51, 2001)
emphasizes bridging social capital as a characteristic of the individual in terms of
his/her structural relations to others within the network. This type of social capital is
not contained in the actors themselves but it results from the relations between actors.
In conclusion, for all of the most important theorists of social capital research, social
networks in whatever form are an important component of social capital. This
describes the dimensions of social capital that fall under what is considered the
structural components of social capital (P. Bourdieu, 1997:46-58; Coleman, 1988:95-
129; White, 2002:255-269) These are social network characteristics that allow us to
assess measures of bridging social capital.
Fiirst et al. (2001: 45) notes that social capital virtually exists in social
relations as [a] possibility to combine human resources. In order that social capital
can be a connecting bridge for the exchange of resources of the actors... it is less
important to increase flexibility than to connect open network options. Social
relations are connected with social capital because social relations are not only
components of social structure but are themselves resources for individuals. We are
interested in those characteristic of social networks between persons or organizations
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that facilitate certain activities. These relationships represent the central focus of this
dissertation, the link between social capital and social networks.
The study of the network structure of nonprofit organizations illustrates the
ability of nonprofits to work together, collaborate, and better serve its recipient
population. These goals of collaboration and service are intrinsically tied to notions
of access to and exchange of resources. Social network analysts measure social
capital through structural features such as interconnectivity and centrality. These
structural features have been associated with such benefits as time of promotion
within an organization (Burt, 1997:339-368), reciprocity and trust among ones peers
(W Tsai, 2000:925-939), and increase in resource exchange among community
organizations (Prell, 2003:1-22). The present research intends to measure and
analyze several characteristics of community networks to determine if the level of
bridging social capital increases after the intervention of the AmeriCorps programs.
The Strength of Ties
Warner (2001:187-190) addresses two inter-connected questions addressed
earlier: can social capital be built? and can a given state actor help construct social
capital? Warner claims that social capital can be increased at the community level
when two important features are present: autonomy and linkage. Autonomy allows
the government actor to ensure organizational integrity and restrain interest group
politics, while communities benefit from autonomy when they can act independently
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of the state, typically through nonprofits. Linkages allow the formation of social
capital through vertical ties between the sectors, as well as hierarchical ties between
local memberships. Network studies are primarily interested in the informal vertical
ties between actors. These linkages are either strong ties that inter-connect primary
networks, or weak ties that act as a bridge between different social or economic
groups. It is these weak ties that are the strength of generating reciprocity the
means to build social capital within the community, or what Granovetter (1973:1360-
1380) referred to as the strength of weak ties.
It was Simmel who early recognized that poor communities needed to
generate social ties extending beyond the primordial groups if long-term
developmental outcomes were to be achieved (Woolcock, 1998:151-208). The study
of weak ties is often nested in research of social networks. Until the mid-1970s, most
of the theoretical development in the study of networks focused on the power of
strong ties between members of a community. More recent work has shifted this
focus to the cohesive power of weak ties and their macro-level effect within
communities.
In 1973, Granovetter proposed the idea that weak ties, measured by the
amount of time, emotional intensity and intimacy, and the reciprocal services that
characterize each tie have a cohesive power in between-group interactions.
Granovetter argues for the strength of weak ties, emphasizing that close-knit social
groups need external ties to gain new resources such as money and information
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(Ashman et al., 1998:1-16). Using network analysis, he illustrated how people were
more likely to gain employment when they utilized their connections through weak
ties. He showed an increase in knowledge sharing when people moved beyond their
intimate relationships and began interacting with acquaintances. According to
Granovetter (1973:1360-1380), these small-scale interactions between groups relate
to such macro phenomena as social capital. Granovetters findings marked a new era
in the study of social capital by identifying the (to this point) hidden value of a
network structure rich in weak ties. This theory marked an important development to
how we think about social capital and created the framework for research that
addresses the notion of fragmentation and decreased intensity limiting social capital;
that is, this framework was developed at least partly to study the value of bridging
social capital.
Granovetters (1973) research focused on the question how do people find
jobs? When jobseekers tap into resources beyond their strong, immediate tie
networks, they have better chances of hearing about opportunities. This is because,
within ones strong, homogenous network, we are more likely to know about the same
things and have access to the same resources. When we tap into the knowledge of
people less like us, then a greater variance of knowledge will exist within the
network. Empirical evidence suggests that the stronger the ties between individuals,
the more similar they are (Ashman et al., 1998:1-16; Berscheid & Walster, 1969;
Hansen, 1999:82-84; Laumann, 1968; Newcomb, 1961). For this reason, groups with
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strong ties, such as families and close friends, have a more homogenous group,
limited in the number of connections they can access outside of their group. Weak
ties, on the other hand, are unique in their ability to have a greater diffusion of
connections. This is because weak ties, for example between groups of
acquaintances, provide a greater opportunity for the creation of bridges. Bridges are
those connections between groups that allow a greater diffusion of linkages. For
example, if A-B and B-C connections exist, the likelihood of an A-C connection is
determined by the bridge created between A-C. Granovetter (1973:1360-1380)
explains this relationship in two examples:
If one tells a rumor to all his close friends, and they do likewise,
many will hear the rumor a second and third time, since those
linked by strong ties tend to share friends. If the motivation to
spread the rumor is dampened a bit on each wave of retelling, then
the rumor moving through strong ties is much more likely to be
limited to a few cliques than that going via weak ones; bridges will
not be crossed. (1366)
In a random sample of recent professional, technical, and
managerial job changers living in a Boston suburb, I asked those
who found a new job through contacts how often they saw the
contact around the time that he passed on job information to them.
A natural a priori idea is that those with whom one has strong ties
are more motivated to help with job information. Opposed to
this...those to whom we are weakly tied are more likely to move in
circles different from our own and will thus have access to
information different from that which we receive. For work-
related ties, respondents almost invariably said that they never saw
the person in a non-work context. Chance meetings or mutual
friends operated to reactivate such ties. It is remarkable that
people receive crucial information from individuals whose very
existence they have forgotten. (1371-72)
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It is important to note here the limitation of this theory regarding the empirical
work resulting from Granovetters claims that weak ties can increase social capital.
These limitations are subtle, but have great consequences for the continued
application of the theory. A weak tie has two meanings. One meaning refers to the
strength of the tie in terms of frequency and intensity, while another explains the
structural notion of bridges that connects subgroups within a network. Granovetter
(1973) and others that apply the strength of weak ties theory to empirical work
(Ashman et al., 1998:1-16; Granovetter, 1982:105-130; Hansen, 1999:82-84; Daniel
Z. Levin & Cross, 2004:1477-1497) interchangeably describe weak ties both as
bridges and in terms of strength and intensity of the tie. Granovetter asserts that
weak ties can lead to a greater occurrence of bridges (as defined above). It is unclear
in the literature however, whether theorists are measuring weak ties by applying a
strength and intensity scale or a method to identify bridges (a structural
measurement) within a network. This confusion has led to ambiguous conclusions
about whether it is a matter of frequency in a relationship or the structure (who is
connected to whom, i.e., bridges as this example) that is the benefit of the strength of
weak tie theory.
It is unclear which measure is the correct measure, however it appears that the
most common application is a measure of frequency, rather than social structure. One
could speculate that the choice to use frequency is a matter of simplicity; it is easier to
construct frequency scales (and also evaluate variability in relationships) than to
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identify bridges within a network. The conclusions often drawn from these studies
refer to the ability of weak ties to bridge to other groups and provide more diverse
resources. This results in a disconnect between the way ties are measured and the
appropriateness of the conclusions. For example, weak ties measured by frequency
can increase the number of connections one has which can increase diversity and
resources within a network; while weak ties measured as bridges can also increase
diversity and resources within a network but by creating connections to other
subgroups, not necessarily created a greater number of connections. Identification of
four types of ties is possible if this distinction is adopted: weak ties to others within a
network, weak ties that act as bridges, strong ties to others within a network, and
strong ties that act as bridges (although these ties are likely not to occur with any
degree of frequency).
The field of social network analysis would benefit from a more defined
application of this measurement and the identification of the distinction between ties
measured for frequency and those measured for their structural characteristics. We
attempt to make this distinction clear in this dissertation by measuring weak ties both
as bridges and through their frequency. Ties measured as bridges are called bridges
and are distinguished from ties measured by frequency (which are called weak
ties).
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Weak Ties, Bridges, and Social Capital
High stocks of social capital within communities can mean many things for
many people. It can mean a happier, contented individual, a more productive
community, or an overall healthier nation (Putnam 1995a). The study of high levels
of social capital at the micro-level has led to some well-developed conclusions.
Individuals who volunteer (Robinson & Williams, 2001:52-71), engage in
associations (Lappe & Du Bois, 1997:119-128; Putnam, 2000b:539), and participate
in community activities (Putnam, 1995a:65-78, 2000b:539) not only increase personal
levels of social capital, but might also increase the stock of social capital within the
greater community. In a similar pattern, communities that have a higher stock of
social capital not only become healthier communities, but develop the bridges that
enable an increase in a national measure of social capital. While a large amount of
research has been done on the construction of social capital through the measurement
of behavioral indicators between individuals (Coleman, 1990:949; Paxton, 1999:88-
127), less has been done to understand the ties that are important to develop within a
community.
Johnson (2001:9) relates the results of both strong and weak ties to the
concept of social capital, claiming that increased social capital comes from within an
organization and the connections people make within these groups. He bases his
research on the concept of dense relationships, a term defined by Coleman
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(1990:949) in his own work on social capital. Dense relationships (strong ties) are
considered those that embody a robust long-term network of relationships, fostering
such things as mentoring opportunities, shared values, and traditions. According to
Coleman, the strength of these ties makes possible transactions in which trust
worthiness is taken for granted and trade can occur with ease (Johnson, 2001:9).
Johnson sees the value in weak ties within groups as well. He states informal
connections...can be especially effective in building social capital...even a small
number of people who share common experiences can create larger networks within
an organization to more effectively solve work problems, share resources and
knowledge, and master new technology (Johnson, 2001:9).
Throughout Johnsons work, however, he emphasizes the strength within
groups, without much attention to the importance of ties between groups. Although
we do not deny that strong ties within groups are important elements to the
construction of social capital, we explore here the possibility that weak ties and
bridges between groups can be more effective at constructing a network of social
capital relations at the community level. The idea that social capital is best
constructed at the community level through the enhancement of weak ties as well as
bridges between community members and groups is an important development.
Empirical research in this area can help to answer the question. Evans (1996:1119-
1132) asks, Can state-society synergy be created in the short run, or does it require
historically deep institutional and normative foundations? More to the point, what
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role can an outside party, such as government, a state actor, or nonprofit organizations
play in constructing social capital when it is not a permanent fixture of the
interrelationships within a community?
Strong Ties vs. Weak Ties
The degree of trust between individuals has been a major indicator of
successful attempts at social capital construction in the past (Coleman, 1990:949; F.
Fukuyama, 1995; Purdue, 2001:221-234). Some argue that the only way to initiate
such relationships within a community is through strong leadership. Purdue
(2001:221-234) finds that social entrepreneurs, resembling transformational leaders,
are critical to creating and maintaining partnerships within communities that result in
increases of social capital. According to Purdue (2001), without a strong leader,
whose role is to foster trusting relations between partnering organizations, difficulties
arise in accumulating social capital. Ambivalence over trust between individuals and
organizations in both partnerships can negatively affect the stock of social capital
within a community. Purdue (2001) associates high levels of trust between leaders
and community members based on the development of strong ties between the
parties. That is, a deep relationship (strong tie), one beyond a simple bridge created
through weak ties, is necessary to unite a community under a common mission.
Ashman, Brown, and Zwick (1998:1-16) disagree, claiming that successful
social capital construction depends on a communitys ability to span constituencies
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historically separated by huge social and economic differences. Others claim that
successful social capital construction is dependent on the social cohesion developed
through weak ties among community members. Forrest and Kearns (2001:125-143)
argue that strong ties, once thought to be the essence of social cohesion, are not as
important at the community level. The important elements to enable social cohesion
are the bridges formed at the neighborhood level. Social capital is often claimed to be
insular and tends to isolate social groups (e.g. fraternities are /ntra-related, that is,
close and exclusive). The idea that weak ties and bridges can be equally, if not more,
beneficial to the social capital dilemma is an important argument.
Contrary to claims that the civic infrastructure is crumbling (Gittell & Vidal,
2001:196; Paxton, 1999:88-127; Putnam, 1993, 1995a:65-78, 1995b:669-683,
2000b:539; Warner, 1999:373-393), Forrest and Kearns suggest that communities are
merely shifting their relationships from a select number of strong ties to a larger
amount of weak ties. Pahl (1991:345-360) suggests that most people live in narrow
gemeinschaftlich worlds of neighborhood and kin. Cosmopolitan intellectuals seem
all too ready to forget or to deny the small-scale domesticity of most peoples lives.
Forrest and Kearns (2001) continue that it is within the dull routine of everyday life
that we begin to form the frequent bridges that create weak ties throughout the
community. The result,
The ordinary participants social relations are usually confined to a
fairly narrow segment of society, and his relations with society as a
whole are mostly indirect, through a series of overlapping primary
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and secondary groups...thus his normative connections with the
vast majority of fellow citizens may be extremely tenuous, and his
commitment to general dominant and deviant values may be
irrelevant to his compliance with the expectations of others
(Forrest & Kearns, 2001:125-143).
Not surprisingly, others have observed that a combination of strong and weak
ties can foster social capital. According to Paxton (1999:88-127), the ideal situation
for fostering social capital is when both types of ties exist, along with high levels of
trust, reciprocity, and positive emotions. When only weak ties exist, in combination
with high levels of trust, reciprocity, and positive emotions, it takes an addition of
external agents for action to occur...intermediaries in the form of go-betweens or
transporters would be necessary for action (Paxton, 1999:88-127). Framed in this
way, advocates of state intervention in the construction of social capital, such as
Warner (1999:373-393, 2001:187-190) and Huntoon (2001:330-365), would agree
with Paxton and hypothesize that the appropriate intermediary would be a
government actor, or a government surrogate (such as an AmeriCorps program).
Prell (2003:1-22) found that the highest levels of social capital exist when community
networks increase the civic culture of community, the number of ties within that
community, and should strengthen those ties that already exist.
Paxton (1999) observes that a major problem with previous theoretical work
on social capital is that proponents assume that its effect will always be positive.
Social capital within a single group need not be positively related to social capital at
the community level. For example, a militia or ethnic separatist group might have
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