Online Leaders Increase Three Types of Capital

Online Leaders Increase Three Types of Capital

Ditte Kolbaek (Aalborg University, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4094-6.ch006

Abstract

This chapter explores 10 years of development in online leadership by asking, How may information and communications technology (ICT) increase the economic, cultural, or social capital of online leaders in a global information-technology company classified as big business? Drawing on practice theory, this chapter is aimed at investigating online leaders' approach to their role seen “from inside,” particularly in regards to three types of capital (social, cultural, and economic capital). This qualitative case study employs the methods of memory work and document analysis covering the development of ICT by Oracle, a global IT company from 2002 to 2012. The analysis provides insights into four themes: first, establishment of common ground for cooperation; second, working practices; third, critical competencies; and fourth, stock valuation trends. The findings indicate that ICT supports the enhancement of all three types of capital.
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Background

Bourdieu (1986) conceptualizes value in three forms of capital: economic, cultural, and social capital. Economic capital is easily measurable, and in most companies, it is the most important measure. Online leaders are assigned specific economic targets, and the processes of online leadership should ensure their achievement. To do so, online leaders engage cultural capital such as English language skills, education, and hierarchical status; and social capital e.g., building relationships with team members (Bourdieu, 1986). While online social networks may be perceived as social capital (Putnam, 2001), the theoretical foundation of this framework lies in Bourdieu’s (1986) work. This chapter discusses economic capital only briefly, focusing instead on the thoughts and considerations of online leaders themselves.

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