Social Capital within a Nonprofit Board and Governance Effectiveness

Nina Esaki, Jennifer Basse, Nathaniel Gray, Krystal Reddick

Nonprofit governance models rarely incorporate board intragroup dynamics as a significant factor that influences board performance, despite studies suggesting that such dynamics play a larger role than previously thought (Schoenberg et al., 2016). This paper presents a mixed methods exploratory study examining the quality of board social capital within the largest domestic violence agency in the U.S., and governance effectiveness. The paper draws on the social capital theory of nonprofit governance (Fredette & Bradshaw, 2012), which suggests that the quality of social capital within the board facilitates effective governance. Findings support this theory, and also highlight the critical role of board leadership. This study contributes to the needed examination of the role of social and relational factors on effective nonprofit governance.


Nonprofit governance, social capital, boards, board effectiveness, group dynamics.