Making pipes, using pipes: How tie initiation, reciprocity, positive emotions, and reputation create new organizational social capital

By: Wayne Baker

Wayne Baker (2014), Making Pipes, Using Pipes: How Tie Initiation, Reciprocity, Positive Emotions, and Reputation Create New Organizational Social Capital, in Daniel J. Brass, Giuseppe (Joe) Labianca, Ajay Mehra, Daniel S. Halgin, Stephen P. Borgatti (ed.) Contemporary Perspectives on Organizational Social Networks (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 40), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.57-71


This paper proposes an agentic model of new social capital creation in organizations. The core concepts are “making pipes” and “using pipes.” A “pipe” is a metaphor in network theory for the connection between two nodes through which something flows. “Making pipes” means that members of an organization are agents who can build new pipes. “Using pipes” refers to how a new pipe is utilized. Several illustrations and examples are provided. Overall, this model illustrates how human agency drives the creation of social capital and the evolution of networks in organizations.