Takemura, K. (竹村幸祐), Uchida, Y. (内田由紀子), & Yoshikawa, S. (2014).
Roles of Extension Officers to Promote Social Capital in Japanese Agricultural Communities.
PloS one, 9(3), e91975.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091975
Social capital has been found to be correlated with community welfare, but it is not easy to build and maintain it. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the role of professional coordinators of social relationships to create and maintain social capital in a community. We focused on extension officers in Japanese agricultural communities, who help farmers in both technical and social matters. A large nation-wide survey of extension officers as well as two supplementary surveys were conducted. We found that (1) social capital-related activities (e.g., assistance for building organizations among farmers) were particularly effective for solving problems; (2) social capital (trust relationships) among community residents increased their life quality; (3) social capital in local communities was correlated with extension officers’ own communication skills and harmonious relationships among their colleagues. In sum, social capital in local communities is maintained by coordinators with professional social skills.