[First paragraph of Introduction] : Nonprofit scholars have investigated several theoretical avenues in their search for an understanding of the role of nonprofit organizations in society. Some discussions have concentrated on the economic role of nonprofit organizations focusing on contribution to GDP (Stewart, 1996, Weisbrod, 1998), job growth (Hall & Banting, 2000), and the labour force value of volunteer work (Day & Devlin, 1996; Duchesne, 1989). Other discussions have considered the role from the perspective of contribution to society in terms of social service provision, and recreational and cultural enrichments beyond what can be provided by the for profit or government sectors (Hall & Banting, 2000, Kramer, 2000, Salamon & Anheier, 1998). Yet, a third scholarly focus has been to investigate the role of voluntary organizations in developing and maintaining social capital. With the publication of Putnam’s (2000) book, Bowling Alone, this concept has become the topic of increasing academic discourse, because of the connection that he makes between voluntary associations, social capital and economic development. Indeed, Putnam (1993, 1995) and Fukuyama (1995) conclude that social capital is a precondition for economic prosperity.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of voluntary organizations as bridgers and bonders in society and the implications of this role in social and economic development.
Keywords: CVSS, Centre for Voluntary Sector Studies, Working Paper Series,TRSM, Ted Rogers School of Management
Foster, M. K., Meinhard, A.G. & Berger, I. The Role of Social Capital: Bridging, Bonding or Both? (Working Paper Series Volume 2003(1)). Toronto : Ted Rogers School of Management, Centre for Volunteer Sector Studies, Ryerson University.