2008 - Volume 49 > Numéro 3

ISSN 0035-2969

Social capital and employee well-being : disentangling intrapersonal and interpersonal social selection and social influence mechanisms

pp. 613-637


We argue that sociological explanations proposed within the social capital framework to explain individual well-being are incomplete because they do not differentiate between interpersonal influence and selection mechanisms, on the one hand, and cognitive intra-personal processes, on the other. To this end, three theoretical models of the dynamic interaction between interpersonal trust and job satisfaction will be used to derive and empirically test six hypotheses. First, according to influence mechanisms, an individual’s job satisfaction can be the result of the number of sociometric trust choices he or she receives (popularity effect) or the level of job satisfaction of those actors he/she trusts (contagion effect). Second, selection mechanisms postulate that a focal actor will be more likely to develop interpersonal trust in colleagues with a high job satisfaction (attractiveness effect) or with similar levels of job satisfaction as the focal actor (homophily effect). Third, according to intrapersonal spillover mechanisms, a high level of job satisfaction can either facilitate the creation of interpersonal trust relationships (satisfaction spillover effect), or individuals initiating a high number of interpersonal trust relationships can exhibit higher levels of satisfaction (trust spillover effect). To simultaneously test these six hypotheses, longitudinal intra-organizational social network data from a Dutch housing company (n = 57) were used. We found a significant contagion effect, but no support for a popularity effect or either selection effect. Moreover, contrary to what we expected, employees with a low level of job satisfaction were significantly more likely to develop trust relationships with others.



  Accès libre
  English Issue
Copyright Revue française de sociologie