Does Social Capital Affect Perceived Job Environment? Evidence from IT & ITES Sectors.

AuthorSharma, Manoj K.
PositionInformation technology, information technology enabled services


In today's competitive environment businesses are growing as never before. Almost every market is struggling with growing competition. In such a scenario organisations aim at building the most congenial environment at their work places so that their employees feel motivated and comfortable while performing their job-related tasks. Organisations are focusing not only on improving the physical environment but are making and searching for enriching the social environment at their workplaces. Human resource literature is filled with research suggesting enhanced employee engagement, job involvement, job satisfaction, etc. Social capital has been one of the important aspects of studying communities and societies. But this concept has not been given the required importance in human resource literature. This concept has been studied in multiple disciplines. But now the arguments have been put forth that when an individual is spending a major chunk of the day and time at the workplace then the workplace should also be considered as a resource of social capital. Social capital is considered as the formation of social relationships and it may be considered as an attribute of the collectiveness or group to which the individual belongs (Kawachi & Berkman, 2000). It normally includes societies, communities, families, neighbourhoods, and workplaces. Therefore, there is a need to look into the characteristics of the social environment as drivers of social capital at workplaces. Different strategies to construct social capital along with engendering trust or faith are almost sure to be more helpful and effective if the same is driven by energy and innovation from the bottom instead of the top of the organisation. To experience both efficacious and affianced, employees must be convinced that they have had an important role in designing and delivering what happens in the workplace. This sharing of both design and execution leads to social capital and trust of a relatively high order. The perceived job environment helps to understand the feeling of the employee from the overall job environment whether the concerned employee can belt a balance in personal and life at the workplace. This balance and perceived positivity may be due to certain non-financial attributes of the job. The social capital is also one of those intangible factors which affect the employee at his/her job. The current study has been conducted keeping in mind the scarcity of research in finding the relationship of perceived job environment and social capital and to prove the practical relationship of the two.

Literature Review

The work environment comprises several components that fall into two key categories, namely, psycho-social and physical. Although, during the initial stages of industrial psychology, just the physical environment was given weight and it was thought as an important determinant of productivity of employees at the workplace. However, the literature lacks consistency in the association between these physical work environment components and performance. Neverthless, after the Hawthorne experiment industrial psychologists started shifting their interest to the study of the social and psychological environment and its effects on employees' job behaviour. Many modern organisations are making all possible hard work to make the work environment more comfortable. However, Helliwell and Putnam (2007) asserted that most of the earlier attempts to value non-financial factors of jobs have primarily been paying attention to job hazards, and have used wage equations along with safety as the independent variable and also incomes or wages as the dependent variable. Further, these results also proposed that the trust of management is estimated to be higher when high levels of linking and bridging social capital exist. The social capital side of the job environment is an emerging trend in research as the majority of the time is spent at the workplace. Thus, it is important to value and understand the formation of social capital and related factors in the workplace (Putnam, 2000). Social capital definition by OECD is as networks together with shared norms, values,and understandings that facilitate co-operation within or among groups (OECD, 2001).

Social capital is also frequently referred to as the features of social organisation such as norms, networks and social trust which leads to cooperation and coordination for common benefits (Putnam, 1995). Helliwell and Putnam (2007) defined social capital as networks along with shared norms, values, and understandings that aid the cooperation and collaboration within or among groups. Further, they asserted that the environment of trust in the workplace is significant. This study also found that trust is associated with subjective well-being, even after considering individual personality differences. On the contrary, relating social capital may be low in union shops and this could be because workers in jobs are generally thought to have relatively low-quality relations between their management and themselves. Thus, they are relatively more inclined to unionization because social capital developed in a union environment may promote solidarity against management (Helliwell & Putnam, 2007). The recent finding of various studies asserts that trust at the workplace and other measures of the life quality on the job have notably high income-equivalent values (Helliwell & Huang, 2005). Helliwell and Wang (2011) asserted that human beings are social beings, and also trust is usually seen as an imperative component within all...

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