The embeddedness of social capital in personal networks

José Luis Molina*, Alejandro García-Macías, Miranda J. Lubbers, Hugo Valenzuela-Garcia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Name generators (NGs) and position generators (PGs) have been used to measure resources embedded in personal relationships, namely social support and social capital, respectively. Comparisons of these measures adopted NGs that only elicit a small number of alters (max. 5). In this paper we explore whether the measurement of social capital with NGs eliciting larger personal networks (say 15 to 20 alters) gives more comparable results to the PG in terms of occupational prestige. To address this issue, we designed a personal network questionnaire that combined a multiple name generator (MNG) and a PG and enquired about alter characteristics and alter-Alter ties for the two sets of nominations simultaneously, allowing their integrated analysis. The questionnaire was implemented in the software EgoNet to collect data from social/environmental entrepreneurs in Spain (N = 30) and Mexico (N = 30. The analysis shows that the two approaches capture mostly non-overlapping sets of personal network members, suggesting that the PG measured in this case available, but not accessed social capital. Remarkably the NG led to a higher average prestige for this occupational group than the PG, but also a lower heterogeneity in prestige. The consequences of using one or another approach and their interpretations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalNetwork Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • name generator
  • personal networks
  • position generator
  • social capital
  • social entrepreneurship


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