The present study re-examines the face to face hypothesis in the social capital literature by comparing Putnam’s socialization perspective with institutionally oriented perspectives in a cross-national context. There are main differences between the perspectives. Both perspectives agree that organizational affiliation does have an impact on individual levels of social capital. In a socialization perspective, only active members and volunteers develop social capital through organizational activity, as only they experience face to face interaction. On aggregate, members should therefore display higher levels of social capital than non-members, but active members and volunteers should score even higher on such measures. There should, however, be no difference between passive members and non-members. In an institutional perspective, members will tend to have somewhat higher levels of social capital than non-members as their linkages to organizations provide them with direct representation by the organization, loyalty to a system of collective action and more direct knowledge about what the organization does by means of newsletters or emails. Social interaction with other members is not crucial in this perspective. In contrast to the socialization perspective, therefore, there is no hypothesized effect of active over passive affiliations.