The Difference Between Relational, Social and Political Capital
According to Get Off the Bench, one can become an effective networker by knowing the differences and importance of the relational, social and political capitals. Each network has a value that can be helpful in trying to achieve certain networking goals. The book defines relational capital as a trusting relationship between individuals while social capital is defined as the scale or quantity of relationships. Political capital is bit more complex as the book explains.
Get Off the Bench excerpt:
The purpose of gaining political capital is to wheel and deal, regardless of the quantity or quality of the relationships involved. Political capital can be described by the proverbial phrase, “You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.” While it may sound unfavorable, political c
apital is as essential to a fully functioning network as relational and social capital are.
The book makes it clear that, like the three branches of government, these three capitals need each other to ensure successful outcomes of its goals. It's important to know where you stand in each relationship and equally important not to overuse your capital.
Get off the Bench excerpt:
You run the risk of damaging relational capital if you see it as purely political capital. Conversely, you
can stand to get tricked if you think you are in a relational capital situation (where trust exists), when you are really in a political capital situation (where trust is not always required).
In all, in order to win the game, you have to know what cards you have, know how and know when to play them.