Valuable connections: a social capital perspective on teachers’ social networks, commitmentand self-efficacy


  • Nienke M. Moolenaar Utrecht University
  • Kees J. de Jong Utrecht University
  • Eghe Osagie Wageningen University
  • Chris Phielix Utrecht University



social capital, social networks, self efficacy, achievement.


In research on educational reform implementation, scholars have highlighted the importance of teacher collaboration in support of increased student achievement. In this study, we examine whether teachers’ knowledge exchange in social networks is related to key elements that have been associated with increased student achievement, namely teacher self-efficacy and commitment. Drawing on social capital theory, we study teachers’ social networks to assess whether greater access to resources, as captured by a more central network position, is related to a greater sense of teacher efficacy and commitment. We collected survey and social network data from eight elementary schools in the Netherlands (N=114), which were then analyzed using social network analysis and correlational analysis. Results suggest positive relationships between teachers’ social network indicators, teacher self-efficacy, and commitment to the organization and to students. Our findings yield directions for more relationally oriented educational policy instruments.

Author Biographies

Nienke M. Moolenaar, Utrecht University

Assistant professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research in terests include social capital theory, social network analysis, leadership and organizational behav- ior. She studies social networks among educators in both the United States and the Netherlands to understand the complexity of social dynamics in schools. For more information, please visit:

Kees J. de Jong, Utrecht University

Teacher in elementary education. In July 2015 he received his Master’s degree in Educational Sciences. His masterthesis focused on teachers’ social networks, their commitment and their sense of efficacy. During his Bachelor of Educaton in 2013 he examined reading skills in elementary education. His main research goal was to investigate which factors of Reading educa tion may lead to better reading skills.

Eghe Osagie, Wageningen University

E. R. Osagie is a teacher at Utrecht University and a PhD student at the Wageningen university in the Netherlands. Her research interests include employability; competence develop- ment; workplace learning; sustainability; corporate social responsibility; change management; and leadership. For more information, please visit:

Chris Phielix, Utrecht University

Lecturer and researcher at Educational Sciences within the department Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. After receiving his Master’s degree (Educational Sciences) in February 2004, he worked as a lecturer at Utrecht University. In December 2004 he worked as a research assistant at an international testing and assessment com- pany named Cito in Arnhem. Since May 2005 he worked as an educational consultant at FLOAT in Doorn. Chris completed his PhD-thesis between 2006 and 2012, which focused on socio-emotional aspects of group functioning. The main research goals are (1) examining ways to let group members become aware of their socio-emotional group behaviour by means of a peer-feedback tool and (2) examining ways to alter individual socioemotional group behaviour by means of a reflection instruction. From January 2011 to June 2012, Chris worked as a researcher and thesis supervisor at the Interfaculty Centre for Teacher Education, Teaching (ICLON), at Leiden University. From 2014, Chris is involved in three research projects: teacher attrition, teacher accountability, and academic teachers in primary education.


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