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Application of Social and Cultural Capital Essay


Humans are social beings, and thus everything that contributes to the development and environment of humanity revolves around social relations. Psychologists argue that a human’s life is shortened considerably when one is alienated from society.

Human development is eternal as it takes place in the brain, but the quality of that growth is largely determined by external factors that are made of social and cultural norms.

Social and cultural capital of a human being is the key determinant of the development in all life situations such as the productivity of an employee in a business environment and the likelihood of a teenage dropping out of high school due to pregnancy among others.

Different neighborhoods produce different salespersons

Sociocultural capital is an essential element in determining the quality of a person’s life in adulthood. A person raised in a ghetto neighborhood can hardly associate well with people from economically flourished environs and vice versa.

This scenario does not play out because the former can get rich and live in a good neighborhood, but can hardly associate effectively with people raised in such neighborhoods. However, the determinants of such inclinations hinge on the strong values instilled by social and cultural capital to a person.

Unfortunately, such values are difficult to break in order to live like people from a different set up. Hence, the two people can make different salespersons.

According to Burt (1995), salespersons are a form of social capital to a business organization. A salesperson has equal rights to the owner of the business as far as the profit-making process is concerned.

The work of a business owner normally ends at the stage where raw materials are combined with other factors such as human capital and finance to produce a finished product.

The social capital in the form of salespersons takes over the duty of finding clients who can buy the product for the business to realize its goals of making profits, and according to Kelly (1998), the effectiveness of a salesperson in delivering required results is determined by the social upbringing with accordance to the social network in a neighborhood.

The question of how well a salesperson finds the client is an issue of concern to the business owner, but Kelly (1998) says that individuals’ social capital is the key determinant of the success of a salesperson.

Social network is crucial for the success of a human being in life as it plays a major role in determining how well a salesperson can sell a product and who is the most preferable party to sell to for successful business. Hence, salespersons would feel comfortable selling products to the people that they socially identify with, and thus it will be hard to sell to persons that belong to other sociocultural backgrounds.

Therefore, it is important to realize that salesperson does well in an environment that comprises people that match his/her social and cultural factors according to Kelly’s argument. Salespersons use their social networks as the main avenue of selling, and thus the first target customers will be relatives or people hailing from the same neighborhoods.

Hence, it is important to note that a salesperson from a ghetto can comfortably sell products that are easily affordable to the poor people. The products must fit such economic and social situations.

On the other hand, a salesperson hailing from an economically flourished environment can comfortably sell to people that match his/her social environments.

Hence, the business owner must consider the social status of the salesperson to determine the types of products that can be sold to particular types of customers with regard to their social class. Both Burt and Kelly have valid arguments on how social and cultural capital affects the life of a human being.

This aspect is one of the strengths of the articles. However, it is important to note that such arguments were valid in the last decade of the 20th century when these articles were published.

However, the situation has drastically changed and today, people are not strongly attached to social and cultural factors that defined their environment as they grew up. This assertion underscores one of the articles’ weaknesses, because the argument cannot be applied in the contemporary world.

With regard to competence, Bart (1995) argues that a person with effective social network is likely to get a job that earns a higher pay than one who does not. On the other hand, social network matters for a person to succeed in life.

A salesperson with a large social network is capable of selling more products as compared to the person having a small sized social network. People that grow up in humble backgrounds are highly social and in most cases, they interact with a large number of people who form high population density in such environments.

Hence, a business owner can pay such a salesperson handsomely for selling a product effectively.

On the other hand, a salesperson raised in an economically flourished neighborhood is not socially tuned because there are limited social relations in such environments; hence, s/he can only sell a couple of products because the target population is small.

Hence, different social neighborhoods produce different competent salespersons. However, a salesperson from a successful background can sell products that target economically endowed customers more easily than his/her poor counterpart because of great confidence in both approaching the target customer as well presenting the product.

In addition, in some cases, the quality of social and cultural capital also matters in determining the efficiency of salespersons. The salesperson raised in an economically flourished neighborhood has a higher advantage over his/her disadvantaged counterpart.

According to Kelly (1998), social and cultural factors in such neighborhoods aim at producing competent adults. Parents advise their children to study hard in school in a bid to have a good life in the future and they are taken to competent schools right from tender age.

Children start interacting and building good networks at a tender age, which they retain to their adulthood in most cases. As a person continues with education up to tertiary levels, s/he continues to make reliable social network.

Hence, by the time of being employed, such a person has a wide and effective network, which is an advantage over his/her counterpart from economically disadvantaged background.

Hence, according to Bart (1995), such a salesperson can sell many products of high value to a wide network, thus enabling the business to make high profits.

Therefore, the salesperson raised in an economically flourished neighborhood can reach out to many people belonging to an effective network made in school and retained up to adulthood.

In conclusion, social and cultural capitals are essential elements of human life, hence crucial determinants of success of a person. An adult person relates better with persons that s/he grew up with in the same social environment.

However, with today’s improved technologies enable people of different social backgrounds to interact freely, the authors’ claims are invalid to most individuals and especially to educated adults, which is a point of weakness.

Moreover, the claims are psychological, hence naturally instilled in humans, and thus they exist despite the dominant developments, which is their greatest strength in applicability in today’s life.


Burt, R. (1995). Structural holes: The social structure of competition. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.

Kelly, M. (1998). Social and cultural capital in the urban ghetto: implications for the economic sociology of immigration. In A. Portes (Ed.), The Economic Sociology of Immigration: Essays on Networks, Ethnicity, and Entrepreneurship (pp. 213-247). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Application of Social and Cultural Capital'. 21 June.

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