The beneﬁts of social capital for the sharing of knowledge are frequently emphasized in the literature. However, a few authors have also begun to draw our attention towards the drawbacks of social capital for the working of organizations. In particular, instrumental social capital – as opposed to consummatory social capital – is seen as linked to power relations, which can inhibit the sharing of knowledge. To contribute to this debate on the role of social capital, we carried out a qualitative study in two Belgian companies. Our ﬁndings reveal that social capital generally tends to enhance the sharing of knowledge but that in its instrumental form it reﬂects opportunistic and political objectives, and promotes a highly selective form of knowledge sharing.
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