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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Elena Dalpiaz, Violina P. Rindova and Davide Ravasi

In this paper, we discuss how “cultural capital” and “symbolic capital,” understood as specialized subsets of intangible resources and capabilities, enable firms to…

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss how “cultural capital” and “symbolic capital,” understood as specialized subsets of intangible resources and capabilities, enable firms to achieve valuable strategic positions in ways that are currently underexplored by mainstream strategy literature. We articulate the similarities and differences between cultural and symbolic capital and the intangible assets that have been the focus of mainstream strategy researchers, such as intellectual, social, and reputational capital. Our theoretical arguments build on insights from a number of studies conducted primarily in non-North American settings that have shown how symbolic properties of products create value. We conclude by delineating future avenues of research that strategy scholarship should consider in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between intangible resources and capabilities, and value creation.

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The Globalization of Strategy Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-898-8

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Article
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Christian Yao

The existing expatriation literature confirms that international assignments (IAs) are an essential tool for developing international talent and global managers but…

Abstract

Purpose

The existing expatriation literature confirms that international assignments (IAs) are an essential tool for developing international talent and global managers but relevant studies are conducted mainly in western developed contexts and neglect the effects on individuals from less developed countries such as China. This paper explores the concept of career and symbolic capital in Chinese multinational company context. It investigates the value of IAs by exploring the relationships between career capital and symbolic capital.

Design/methodology/approach

Twenty-eight semi-structured interviews with Chinese expatriates were conducted.

Findings

Results suggest that the value of individual career capital from IAs depends on the contexts and how different parties perceive the value. A model comprising individual, organisational and social dimensions are proposed along with mediating factors that affect the effectiveness of value transfer between career capital and symbolic capital. Implications are rehearsed, exposing areas for further research.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature by investigating the notion of career in an important but under-researched sample: Chinese expatriates. It helps to gain a better understanding on Chinese multinational companies and their employees.

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Journal of Global Mobility, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-8799

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Book part
Publication date: 19 September 2006

Gianluca Brunori

Wealthy rural areas, or rural areas in wealthy regions, have a specificity that should be taken into consideration both in empirical and theoretical research. In most of…

Abstract

Wealthy rural areas, or rural areas in wealthy regions, have a specificity that should be taken into consideration both in empirical and theoretical research. In most of the cases, rural development in these areas depends not only on the capacity of rural communities to mobilise endogenous resources, but also to be able to link endogenous resources with outside networks. In Italy this approach has widely been put into practice through strategies centred on the link between local food and its place of production. To explore the implications of this link, the paper will explore the implication of an adoption of the concept of ‘terroir’. Terroir can be seen as a mix of a set of localised invariants in the space related to natural, cultural, and social spheres. It is highly specific of a place, as it is produced and reproduced through localised processes. The peculiarity of the ‘terroir’ is that it is embodied into the product, which means that it is the source of local products’ identity and specificity. Local products are then a component of a broader socio-technical system, and product and terroir co-evolve. What are the mechanisms that make local products keys to rural development in a neo-endogenous perspective? In a neo-endogenous perspective, valorisation of local products is mainly related to its capacity to be recognised and evaluated by outside observers as different (and possibly better) from others. This capacity is embodied into what Bourdieu calls symbolic capital. Symbolic capital becomes a thread linking ‘terroir’ and the product to external observers, and convey to them meanings like notoriety, reputation, and trust. In order to be able to create, maintain, and increase symbolic capital, rural communities activate communication practices within and outside themselves. This may generate conflicts as well as strengthen identities and alliances. Three case studies will show the network building processes related to the creation of symbolic capital and its mobilisation into food production and marketing. The Cutigliano case shows how a small community borrows symbolic capital from the outside to enhance its capacity to sell a local cheese outside the area. The Colonnata case shows the risk that neo-endogenous strategies generate interlocal conflicts, hampering its competitiveness as a whole. The Chianti case shows an internal conflict over the use of the symbolic capital with both positive effects on the public debate and potential negative effects on the cohesion of the area. All the three cases make possible a reflection on governance, and especially on the role of the state (or the regional administration) in the governance of these processes.

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Between the Local and the Global
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-417-1

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Onnolee Anne Nordstrom and Lloyd Steier

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to review the notion of social capital and its dominant dimensions and appraise the ways in which social capital and these…

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1096

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to review the notion of social capital and its dominant dimensions and appraise the ways in which social capital and these dimensions have been applied within family business research. Second, to develop a number of suggestions of ways in which the concept could be extended, from a symbolic perspective, to provide greater insight into the complexity and heterogeneity of family systems.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper designed to stimulate new ways of thinking about social capital and the competitive advantage of family firms.

Findings

This paper suggests that social capital has a symbolic dimension, which has been largely overlooked both within the field of family business and across social capital research more generally. Within the field of family business the authors connect this neglect to an over-emphasis on business theories. The authors offer ways in which incorporating a family theory – symbolic interactionism – could help to better understand family firms, social capital, and competitive advantage.

Originality/value

This paper proposes an original approach to social capital. Guided by the notion of informed pluralism the paper integrates seemingly unrelated theories and identifies opportunities for new and innovative research. By espousing a symbolic interactionist approach the argument developed within this paper is valuable for helping to advance new ways of thinking about social capital and the competitive (dis)advantage of family firms.

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International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Raymond Caldwell

A place in the boardroom is often considered a necessary if not sufficient condition for HR directors to exercise strategic influence on business decision‐making. The…

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4177

Abstract

Purpose

A place in the boardroom is often considered a necessary if not sufficient condition for HR directors to exercise strategic influence on business decision‐making. The purpose of the paper is to explore the perceived importance of HR boardroom representation, both in a formal and symbolic sense, and to what extent HR directors can exercise strategic influence without it?

Design/methodology/approach

Evidence is explored from a survey of 1,188 UK HR practitioners, including 255 board members, and a series of follow‐up interviews with 16 HR directors.

Findings

Analysis of the survey findings suggests that boardroom versus non‐boardroom representation of HR appears to matter in four key areas: board members believe they have greater involvement and influence in business planning processes; they have more positive perceptions of the overall performance of HR; they give higher ratings of CEO perceptions of the HR function; and they believe they achieve greater integration of HR strategy with business strategy.

Research limitations/implications

While there are increasingly other formal mechanisms and forums (e.g. executive committees, personal networks) outside the boardroom for HR directors to exercise their influence, it appears that the “symbolic capital” of boardroom recognition and esteem still retains enormous significance and rhetorical appeal for the HR profession.

Originality/value

The paper seeks to reframe the debates on the relative importance of HR boardroom versus executive committee representation as forums of strategic influence, by focusing on the continued symbolic significance of boardroom representation. It is concluded that a reworking of Bourdieu's concept of “symbolic capital” (i.e. professional esteem, recognition, status, or respect) as board capital may be useful in reframing future research on HR boardroom representation.

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Employee Relations, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2013

Jane L. Glover

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of social, cultural and symbolic capital alongside economic capital, according to Pierre Bourdieu, in small family…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of social, cultural and symbolic capital alongside economic capital, according to Pierre Bourdieu, in small family businesses. The paper demonstrates that social, cultural and symbolic capital, play an important role in maintaining the family farm business and ensuring its survival.

Design/methodology/approach

Ethnographic case studies were selected using theoretical sampling techniques and a variety of data collection tools were used, interviews and participant observation, to construct the contextual and historical elements of each case.

Findings

The results, though highly case specific, indicate that: social networks (social capital) are important to farmers and their families, and these networks have been weakened over the years. Knowledge transfer is crucial to successful succession in the family business and as such cultural capital (knowledge, skills, qualifications, etc.) is retained within the business and accumulated from wider fields through educational qualifications. Symbolic capital is highly important to farmers and their families and could enlighten family business researchers as to why family farm businesses manage to survive the transition from one generation to the next.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides insights into how family businesses use non-economic resources to pursue survival strategies. It also demonstrates the importance of exploring all family members, however small their contribution is to the business. The paper highlights how the different relationships between family members enable and hinder capital usage in the family farm business.

Originality/value

This paper explores family farm businesses from a sociological perspective to shed light on how they survive passing between generations, unlike many other family-owned businesses.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2019

Paul D. Ahn and Kerry Jacobs

The purpose of this paper is to understand how and why accountants who moved from accounting firms to public service adapted their identities to reduce insecurity. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand how and why accountants who moved from accounting firms to public service adapted their identities to reduce insecurity. The literature on accountant identity highlights insecurity caused by promotion criterion to partnership, which requires accountants to win new work for their employers and leads to overtime, as a serious problem which has permeated the accounting profession. However, there have been few studies that explore whether accountants who moved to the public service, where they have stronger job security and can enjoy work-life balance, have resolved the insecurity problem, although a neoliberalism turn accompanied by New Public Management-style reforms has increased the number of accountants in public service. Therefore, the authors of the current study aim to fill this gap in the literature by exploring the identity transitions of South Korean (hereafter Korean) accountants who joined the public service.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors theorise the nature of the process of identity adaptation with conceptual tools from Pierre Bourdieu, such as habitus and capital, and examine whether the accountants took a “vision-of-division” or a “di-vision” strategy in the public service to secure their identity. For this purpose, the authors interviewed accountants and their non-accountant colleagues, and investigated other written sources, such as newspaper articles and business cards.

Findings

The authors found that Korean accountants in Big-4 firms dealt with the same insecurity issues as accountants in western countries and perceived public service as an attractive alternative to remove this insecurity. However, accountants who joined the public service found themselves confronted with different types of problems, such as accounting/costing work being regarded as demeaning, which made their identity insecure. Therefore, some accountants took a di-vision strategy that makes the difference between themselves and typical public servants less visible by avoiding accounting/costing work, using bureaucratic designations and de-emphasising their accounting credentials. Accountants took this strategy because the symbolic value of their accountancy qualifications grew weaker over time, due to the increase in the number of qualified accountants, and because the public service field valued bureaucratic habitus and capital more highly than those of the accountants.

Originality/value

From a methodological aspect, the authors collected participants’ business cards and analysed which designations/credentials they chose in order to create a certain perception. This analysis helped the authors understand how accountants work on their identity by de-emphasising accounting credentials to secure their identity in an organisational field. In a theoretical dimension, the current study argues that the symbolic capital of accounting credentials is dependent on the organisational and social context in line with Bourdieu, and, contrary to Bourdieu, on the supply and demand in the professional labour market.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Paul D. Ahn and Kerry Jacobs

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an accounting association and its key members define, control, and claim their knowledge; adopt a closure and/or openness…

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1108

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how an accounting association and its key members define, control, and claim their knowledge; adopt a closure and/or openness policy to enhance their status/influence; and respond to structural/institutional forces from international organisations and/or the state in a particular historical context, such as a globalised/neo-liberalised setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical tools (field, capital, habitus, and doxa) to understand how public sector accrual accounting was defined, and how the Korean Association for Government Accounting was formed and represented as a group with public sector accounting expertise. The research context was the implementation of accrual accounting in South Korea between 1997/1998, when the Asian financial crisis broke out, and 2006/2007, when accrual accounting was enforced by legislation. The authors interviewed social actors recognised as public sector accounting experts, in addition to examining related documents such as articles in academic journals, newsletters, invitations, membership forms, newspaper articles, and curricula vitae.

Findings

The authors found that the key founders of KAGA included some public administration professors, who advocated public sector accrual accounting via civil society groups immediately after Korea applied to the International Monetary Fund for bailout loans and a new government was formed in 1997/1998. In conjunction with public servants, they defined and designed public sector accrual accounting as a measure of public sector reform and as a part of the broader government budget process, rather than as an accounting initiative. They also co-opted accounting professors and CPA-qualified accountants through their personal connections, based on shared educational backgrounds, to represent the association as a public sector accounting experts’ group.

Originality/value

These findings suggest that the study of the accounting profession cannot be restricted to a focus on professional accounting associations and that accounting knowledge can be acquired by non-accountants. Therefore, the authors argue that the relationship between accounting knowledge, institutional forms, and key actors’ strategies is rich and multifaceted.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2021

Faiza Ali, Sophie Hennekam, Jawad Syed, Adnan Ahmed and Rabbia Mubashar

This article examines the labour market inclusion of documented and undocumented Afghan refugees in Pakistan using and extending Bourdieu's theory of capital.

Abstract

Purpose

This article examines the labour market inclusion of documented and undocumented Afghan refugees in Pakistan using and extending Bourdieu's theory of capital.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on 22 semi-structured in-depth interviews with both documented and undocumented Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Findings

The findings show the low capital endowments of refugees. Their economic capital is shaped by low levels of financial resources, and emotional capital is shaped by their psychological distress and traumata and identity capital takes the form of negative perceptions about them. Their low capital endowments are further reduced through different forms of symbolic violence, such as ambiguous and short-term government policies, bribery and abuse by the police as well as unfair treatment by employers. However, refugees do mobilise their capital endowments to enhance their labour market position. The authors identified resilience as emotional capital, their strategic development of who they are as identity capital as well as social and cultural capital in the form of ethnic and linguistic similarities with locals in finding ways to improve their inclusion in the labour market.

Originality/value

The authors provide insights in the dynamics that lead to and sustain the exclusion and inequalities faced by Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Sally Jones

This paper aims to to explore power and legitimacy in the entrepreneurship education classroom by using Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological and educational theories. It…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to to explore power and legitimacy in the entrepreneurship education classroom by using Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological and educational theories. It highlights the pedagogic authority invested in educators and how this may be influenced by their assumptions about the nature of entrepreneurship. It questions the role of educators as disinterested experts, exploring how power and gendered legitimacy “play out” in staff–student relationships and female students’ responses to this.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple-method, qualitative case study approach is taken, concentrating on a depth of focus in one UK’s higher education institution (HEI) and on the experiences, attitudes and classroom practices of staff and students in that institution. The interviews, with an educator and two students, represent a self-contained story within the more complex story of the case study.

Findings

The interviewees’ conceptualization of entrepreneurship is underpinned by acceptance of gendered norms, and both students and staff misrecognize the masculinization of entrepreneurship discourses that they encounter as natural and unquestionable. This increases our understanding of symbolic violence as a theoretical construct that can have real-world consequences.

Originality/value

The paper makes a number of theoretical and empirical contributions. It addresses an important gap in the literature, as educators and the impact of their attitudes and perceptions on teaching and learning are rarely subjects of inquiry. It also addresses gaps and silences in understandings of the gendered implications of HE entrepreneurship education more generally and how students respond to the institutional arbitration of wider cultural norms surrounding entrepreneurship. In doing so, it challenges assertions that Bourdieu’s theories are too abstract to have any empirical value, by bridging the gap between symbolic violence as a theory and its manifestation in teaching and learning practices.

Details

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-6266

Keywords

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