Social Capital harbours at least three dimensions: bonding, bridging, and linking.
It refers to intra-group, internal or inclusive “bonding” among homogeneous relationships within a family, group or community. It promotes reciprocity and help mobilising solidarity. It usually provides a sense of belonging which fulfils the immediate needs for belonging, love, emotional support and solidarity.
It refers to inter-group or external “bridging” connecting diverse social groups or heterogeneous relationships between different families, groups and communities. Bridging social capital enhance mobilization of external resources and information diffusion.
It refers to a vertical relation that helps individuals gain access to resources from formal institutions for social and economic development. In linking social capital, individuals or groups forge “alliance with sympathetic individuals in position of power… in order to leverage resources, ideas and information from formal institutions beyond the community.” This thus opens up access to jobs, opportunities, advice, and other resources.
Abstracted from Chong and Ng (2010), Bridging Social Captial – Theories and Practice. In Ng, S.H., Leung Y.L, and Prakash Brahm (Eds.), Social Capital in Hong Kong: Connectivities and Social Enterprise. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.