Develop Social Capital to Effectively Enter the Age of Corporate Social Justice

Corporate Social Justice

By Mostafa Sayyadi and Michael J. Provitera

A few months ago, alarming news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spread through official news agencies. Many people across the globe were watching this great crisis with concern for their future. This crisis may be a terrible spark for much bigger crises such as hunger and war over available resources. The dread of an imminent nuclear war may satisfy a small population. The last resort is unwelcomed by any means. Without social justice, these hungry and frustrated people may never be able to cope. They do not have an airplane to board, nor hope to even hang on to its wheels. An example of what happened to desperate Afghans fleeing the situation is a statement that appears in the minds of many. Without social justice, perhaps the world is getting closer to realizing this dream.

At the organizational level, how important is social capital to social justice? Social justice is the apropos word today with the way the world is attempting to take care of the poor and keep people safe, happy, and secure. [1] [2] [3] Agility is a key component of business success in today’s hypercompetitive world. [4] [5] [6] To achieve a high level of agility, organizations need to create a high level of social capital to support social justice. Our article emphasizes the address of this issue to show how organizations can achieve a new order that is necessary for innovation and survival. We need a new form of social capital-based organizational structure that supports social justice.

Organizations today must strive to be agile. [7] [8] [9] The sad reality is that as organizations grow in their business environment, they move away from helping the society, because their main incentive is, in general, to prosper, and, in other cases, they place their focus on survival. Survival sometimes brings inertia and less agility. Innovative and creative ideas in this bureaucratic environment are quickly suppressed and efforts of the organization are focused only on achieving a high level of efficiency. A handful of companies like Apple are still focused on the original idea of helping society through technological breakthroughs. Social capital manifests itself in the form of trust, interaction, and the sharing of ideas and concerns of not only the people in the organization but also the community at large. [10] [11] [12] [13] Social capital can play a very important role in achieving agility and reducing the gap between external changes and the proper response to these changes. Building a social capital-based organizational structure that strengthens trust and interaction between organizational members should become the task of innovative and transformational leaders in today’s business environment.

To support efforts leading to social justice, social capital-based organizational structures factor into this complex equation by designing the power of trust and interaction between human resources and society. This type of organizational design increases the exchange of ideas among employees and leads to the growth of knowledge flow and causes the realization of the learning organization. Some organizations must redesign the organizational processes and events to maximize the interaction of human resources from all parts of the organization to achieve a systemic approach among them to volunteer, give, and offer support to the communities that they serve.  The organization becomes more compatible with its business environment, through more effective, timelier, and more innovative responses to the external changes in society.

Redesigning organizational processes and events to further align volunteer and donation ideas, other resources, and key individuals to lead the cause to meet the needs of social justice, the transformation of human capital into social capital is necessary. Through the more effective sharing and application of organizational knowledge, social capital can be enhanced and utilized today more than ever. Human capital is a vital and necessary factor in achieving agility and reducing the gap between changes and the response time to them, it is social capital that uses this human capital and ultimately leads to agility. The analogy between human capital and social capital is what we call power and politics in organizational behavior which is an interesting perspective of management. Power is the same as human capital and politics to use the right sources of power to enhance social capital coupled with social justice. Referent power is the true power of reaching the masses and potentially helping solve some of the problems of social justice.

In closing, while many organizations do not suffer from a lack of ideas (human capital), they do not have effective mechanisms for sharing these ideas and using them (social capital). Most importantly, without an adequate amount of human and social capital, social justice is hard to manifest, and the society goes unnoticed and is left to fend for itself. Thus, the social capital-based organizational structure is the missing link for realizing the potential of improving social justice and turning human capital into social capital.

About the Authors

Mostafa SayydiMostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. 

Michael ProviteraMichael J. Provitera is a senior faculty professor of Management and Leadership, in the Andreas School of Business at Barry University, Miami, Florida, USA . He is an author of Level Up Leadership: Engaging Leaders for Success, published by Business Expert Press.

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