In this paper we use the concept of social capital to outline a distinctive approach to understanding the interplay between management control systems and the development of social connections in and between organisations. Social capital provides a comprehensive framework for examining the nature of social connections through its focus on both structural networks (bridging) and interpersonal relationships that predispose individuals towards mutually beneficial collective action (bonding). In doing so, social capital provides a means of considering how individuals react to management control systems in terms of the social ties that exist both within the organization and external to the organization. Using a case study of a non-government organization, we show how social capital is implicated in efforts to attract economic capital and cultural capital. We demonstrate how elements of a management control system can either enhance or inhibit the bonding and bridging dimensions of social capital with potential consequences on both economic and cultural capital. We highlight the mixed and sometimes contradictory effects of management control systems on social capital, and provide a powerful illustration of the role of management control systems in brokering alliances and bridging structural holes
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