An Examination of the Relationships between Leadership Development Approaches, Networking Ability, and Social Capital Outcomes

Participants in leadership development programs take part in multiple developmental experiences that can influence the composition of their social network and enhance social capital. However, further investment in such practices may be limited because little is known about the relationship between leadership development approaches, networking ability, and social capital. This study explores how common developmental approaches may contribute to social capital, taking into consideration the role networking ability plays in this relationship. This descriptive, correlational study included a sample of graduates (N= 231) from 15 statewide agricultural-based leadership development programs. Our findings reveal that: 1) Networking is an antecedent to social capital, 2) skill building and personal growth approaches to leadership development are significant predictors of networking ability, and 3) networking ability is a significant predictor of social capital.