This paper explores social capital development between operational faculty members delivering Sino-British transnational partnerships. Research focuses on two Sino-British ‘joint programme’ partnership case studies in order to investigate boundary spanning and the development of social capital between UK and Sino academics involved in programme delivery. Since social capital is posited as a central facet in the development and institutionalisation of successful partnerships, understanding how to grow, nurture and maintain productive levels of social capital between operational academics could significantly improve and strengthen transnational partnerships. Findings suggest that boundary spanning is a useful tool, enabling individuals to interpret, transmit and filter knowledge, facilitate resource transmission and represent their organisations, building cohesion and commitment between stakeholders. The research concludes that boundary spanning can improve social capital between operation faculty members, and that senior leaders at higher education institutions should consider it as a tool with which to manage and evolve their international educational partnerships.