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Social capital and career growth

Dae-seok Kang ( Inha University , Incheon, Republic of Korea)
Jeff Gold (Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University , Leeds, UK)
Jeongeun Kim ( Inha University , Incheon, Republic of Korea)
Ilsoo Kim (Sabic Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 4 October 2019

Issue publication date: 23 March 2020




The purpose of this paper is to examine the instrumental use of social capital regarding career growth within an organization, focusing on the mediating role of perceived competence mobilization and the moderating role of two situational variables: perceived external prestige and job insecurity climate.


Relationships among the constructs are predicted based on relevant literature, and are tested using survey results from 324 employees working in 14 leading corporations in Korea.


Results show that social capital positively influenced, via perceived competence mobilization, each of two career growth dimensions (i.e. the personal efforts to develop a career and the experience of being rewarded by the organization). In contrast, moderated path analysis indicated that perceptions of external prestige and job insecurity climate failed to moderate the indirect effect of social capital on career growth.

Practical implications

In light of the instrumental use of social capital and the ensuring mechanism of competence mobilization, a detailed understanding of this effect on career growth cannot only neutralize the fears of brain drain, but is also helpful in providing possibilities for building new career development strategies.


Although social capital has become an influential concept in social sciences, little evidence has been presented on the above relationship, particularly from the perspective of careerist orientation. This may be the first research examining how and when the influence of social capital becomes instrumental with respect to career attainment within an organization.



This work was supported by a research grant from Inha University. The authors are grateful for their funding and support of this work. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.


Kang, D.-s., Gold, J., Kim, J. and Kim, I. (2020), "Social capital and career growth", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 100-116.



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