Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 59-64  
J. Environ. Treat. Tech.  
ISSN: 2309-1185  
Journal web link: http://www.jett.dormaj.com  
https://doi.org/10.47277/JETT/9(1)64  
Social Capital in Marketing and Its Implication to  
the Social Outcome  
*
Zurul Aisya Osman , Nursyuhadah Abdul Rahman, Nur Syairah Ani  
Universiti Kuala Lumpur Business School, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  
Received: 18/08/2020  
Accepted: 06/10/2020  
Published: 10/10/2020  
Abstract  
Social capital refers to economic resource involving elements such as norms, trust and social network that facilitate society’s action.  
From marketing perspective, social capital mediates the experience of the individual, organization and the entire society via enabling shared  
values to spread through social connections, hence generating social outcome. Nonetheless, conceptualization of social capital within  
marketing paradigm has been inadequate despite some empirical works. Consequently, elements of norms, trust and social network which  
signify long term establishment of a business, has often been neglected. In this study, analyses are performed on existing scholarly published  
papers to gauge the conceptual and empirical findings from existing studies pertaining social capital in marketing as well as its implication  
towards the society’s outcome. In this regards, we identify the contributions of social capital which mediates the relationship between  
marketing strategies and its performance. Subsequently, we characterize how social capital in marketing affects the social outcome in the  
contemporary world. The study proposes that social capital is a useful and appropriate resource to enhance marketing performance that would  
engender benefits at the societal level. However, social capital could also hinder the performance should it is not being properly acknowledged  
and assessed. Ultimately, the study will stimulate more efforts to emphasize on social capital among marketers and the community as a means  
to further enhance the desired social outcome. Additionally, this study will also serve as guidance for future researchers to extend the finding  
into more profound studies in the area of social capital in marketing.  
Keywords: Social capital, marketing, social outcome  
1
wrong decisions (Prusak & Cohen, 2001). Meanwhile, the  
1
Introduction  
contemporary reviews are mostly restricted to presenting  
comprehensive literature survey covering numerous definitions  
and measurement approaches for social capital, with lack of  
attempt to specify the analysis within marketing environment. As  
such, relevant indicators and analysis on social capital in  
marketing, especially pertaining conceptualization of the double-  
edge mediating roles it has, is yet to be extensively studied.  
Therefore, this paper seeks to address the above-mentioned  
issues, specifically with regards to the contradictory yet  
instrumental roles that social capital has to influence marketing  
behaviour and actions, which consequently create a certain  
outcome at societal level. It is worth mentioning that this paper  
does not in fact discuss social marketing but rather assess social  
capital as an instrument in contemporary marketing practices. The  
main departure is that, while social marketing focuses on  
influencing the marketers and consumers towards positive  
behaviour and actions (Kotler & Levy, 1969), social capital have  
the possibility of creating contradictory outcomes, in which at one  
point the implication could become the means of wellbeing, yet in  
another circumstances bring adverse implication to the  
Social capital refers to the value of relationships (Coleman  
988; Baker 1990) which enable an organization or an institution  
1
to work effectively. Recently, social capital has been used to  
explain the performances within diverse key economic areas such  
as entrepreneurship (Kim & Aldrich, 2005; Stam & Elfring, 2008)  
organizational management (Moran, 2005; Li et. al, 2014) and  
supply chain resilience (Johnson et. al., 2013; Gölgeci &  
Kuivalainen, 2020). From the macro perspective, social capital has  
received critical attentions with regards to its important roles in  
economic growth (Dinda, 2002) and socioeconomic development  
(
Han et. al., 2014). Nonetheless, the significance of social capital  
in explaining marketing effectiveness are still lacking.  
According to Pratono & Pudjibudojo (2016), social capital  
serves as complementary mediator which supports marketing  
capability consequently enhance an organization’s performances.  
While the term social capital existed for quite some time, the role  
it plays in influencing marketing capability and performance still  
has not been appropriately examined. On the other hand, social  
capital has not always been a good mediator since there is a  
tendency for excessive amount of it which could lead towards  
*
Corresponding author: Zurul Aisya Osman, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Business School, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. E-mail:  
zurulaisya@unikl.edu.my  
59  
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 59-64  
marketplace and the society.  
races, religions, cultures, positions or any other  
sociodemographic or socioeconomic characteristics (Putnam,  
1
995; Woolcock, 1998). This type of social capital emerges  
2
Literature Review  
from weak social ties across society and much more open to  
relations. Van Staveren & Knorringa (2007) asserts that  
bridging capital enables the economic transactions between  
strangers and help reduce the inevitable costs of uncertainty.  
However, bridging capital heavily relies on generalized trust  
among loosely connected people, hence it establishes only a  
minimum level of trustworthiness that needs to be  
occasionally assessed through looking at updated reputation  
of the members as well as ongoing involvement in the  
relationship. Consequently, bridging social capital have the  
tendency to be destroyed during crisis and the possibility for  
this is perhaps higher than the bonding capital.  
Hence, social capital is an important factor in the social  
dynamics of decision‐making (Stevenson & Radin, 2009).  
Indeed, social capital is a multidimensional occurrence which  
involved interpersonal relationship within and between  
organizations or networks that are complex to measure.  
Indeed, theory of social capital suggests that norms, trust and  
social networks are the valuable inherent resources which  
mediate better accessibility towards the tangible economic  
resources, consequently facilitate in achieving desired  
outcomes (Bandari and Yasunobu, 2009). Nonetheless, the  
excessive or improperly managed amount of social capital  
may lead to adverse implication and hence attention. Table 1  
below shows the summary descriptions of social capital from  
its vast literatures.  
2
.1 Social Capital  
Social capital is a resource with economic and moral  
values. Generally accepted as a goodwill (Adler and Kwon,  
002) and inherent in the social structures, social capital is  
derived through social connections (Nahapiet & Ghoshal,  
998; Villalonga-Olives & Kawachi, 2017) and anchors on  
2
1
the non-material and intangible resources engendered through  
shared and cooperative occurrence in relationships among  
individual and social units (Coleman, 1988). In fact, social  
capital is mutually owned by both parties in the relationship,  
the important characteristic which make it distinctive from  
other types of capitals (Burt, 2000). More importantly, social  
capital plays the role in influencing people’s behaviour and  
actions subsequently foster their performance.  
Essentially, Bourdieu (1986) categorized three (3)  
dimensions of capital which is economic, culture and social.  
Within the social dimension, trust has become the influential  
tool to overcome conflicts of power function and to gain  
designated outcome from an exchange. On the other hand,  
Coleman (1988) examined three (3) elements which forms the  
social capital, namely obligations and expectations,  
informational channels and shared social norms. While  
people normally feel obligated to the relationship that they  
built, they will also have certain expectation from the  
relationship. In addition, an expectation which is also the  
desired outcome is more impactful when there is appropriate  
channel for information as well as norms which is shared  
unequivocally by the network.  
Meanwhile, Putnam (1995) has characterized social  
capital into three (3) components which is norms, trust and  
social networks. While norms are associated with moral  
obligations, trust is a social value which is reciprocal, hence  
it refers to mutual trust. On the other hand, social networks  
entail association between people in their respective kind of  
relationship. Furthermore, Putnam (1995) has also  
contextualized social capital into two (2) distinctive types,  
namely bonding capital and bridging capital. The former  
emerges from strong social ties between family members,  
neighbours, friends, or within the same religious or cultural  
circle. In this regard, bonding capital could easily generate a  
particular type of trust and norms as adhered between the  
members within their network, while non-members may face  
high barriers in relationship. Nonetheless, Cleaver