Toward a social capital theory of director selection

Yangmin Kim, Albert A. Cannella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Manuscript Type: Conceptual Research Question/Issue: Our study evaluates the role of social capital in new director selection, board composition, and board effectiveness. Research Findings/Insights: We take steps toward a theory of director selection, explaining how social capital at the individual-level influences director selection and at the group level influences board effectiveness. At the individual level, social capital is defined as the interpersonal linkages that director candidates have to others, both inside and outside the firm. At the group level, board social capital is an asset that includes both relations of directors and potential resources arising from the relations. Theoretical/Academic Implications: We argue that: 1) social capital can be divided into internal and external dimensions according to its locus and function; 2) both internal and external social capital are associated with board composition through director selection, although the causal logic differs considerably; 3) the influences of social capital on director selection vary according to the context; and 4) both internal social capital and external social capital generate unique resources that are important to board effectiveness. Practitioner/Policy Implications: Our study informs practicing managers, because we describe how and why most research and public discussion has emphasized the role of directors as monitors of managers and this has significantly downplayed the role of directors in providing advice, counsel, and other resources to their organizations. We provide a strong logic for seeking directors with specific types of social capital (internal or external) under specific contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-293
Number of pages12
JournalCorporate Governance: An International Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Board processes
  • Board structure
  • Research dependence theory
  • Social capital
  • Stewardship theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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