Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

Working Papers,
Stockholm School of Economics, Center for Educational Leadership and Excellence

No 21/4: The Role of Social Capital for Teacher Professional Learning and Student Achievement: A Systematic Literature Review

Ema K. Demir ()
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Ema K. Demir: University of Cambridge, Postal: University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education., 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, UK.

Abstract: This systematic review synthesises research on social capital in relation to teachers and teacher professional learning between the years 2004-2019. The study was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Statement and the Weight of Evidence framework for quality and relevance appraisal. After applying eligibility criteria, 66 empirical items were included in the final review. The review finds that social capital among teachers has been associated with five categories of outcomes: 1) teacher professional development, 2) the implementation of change, 3) the introduction of new and beginning teachers, 4) teacher retention and job satisfaction, and 5) improved student achievement. These have, in turn, been associated with the implicit outcome of promoting educational equity. A synthesis of enablers and barriers to building social capital among teachers identifies the pervasive role of organisational structures for moderating the relationship between social capital and these outcomes. Findings indicate that different organisational structures may foster different social capital dimensions, such as bonding, bridging, and linking. More research is needed on the relationship between these dimensions and schools' organisational structure to promote the desired outcomes of teacher social capital identified in this review.

Keywords: Social capital; teacher professional learning; student achievement; organisational structures; educational equity

35 pages, January 7, 2022

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