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Harvesting Value from Brokerage: Individual Strategic Orientation, Structural Holes, and Performance

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore the mechanisms underpinning returns to brokerage positions by considering the role of individuals' strategic orientation toward brokering. We conceptualize individuals' strategic orientations in terms of arbitraging versus collaborating behaviors enacted when occupying a brokerage position. Leveraging a novel data set collected in a global consumer product company, we theorize and find evidence for the fact that arbitraging and collaborating orientations have differential effects on the relationship between brokerage and performance, significantly impacting on individuals' ability to extract value from brokerage. We discuss the implications of these findings for the structural analysis of informal networks in organizations.

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... Recent research has suggested that there are multiple distinct classes of brokerage behavior (Obstfeld, 2017;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016;Spiro, Acton, & Butts, 2013), and an individual's tendency to engage in a certain type of brokerage has been referred to as a brokerage orientation. Research has begun to explore how orientations toward these three forms of brokerage affect social phenomena (Kellogg, 2014;Lingo & O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Sgourev, 2015;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). In this vein, Obstfeld (2005) introduced a measure of an individual's tertius iungens orientation, which is a strategic behavioral orientation to introduce previously unacquainted network contacts to one another or to stimulate new types of interaction between previously acquainted contacts. ...
... In reaction to the predominantly structuralist approach to brokerage, scholars have begun to emphasize brokerage as social behavior (Lingo & O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld, 2017;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016;Soda et al., 2018). In this view, both the structure of a broker's social network and how he or she tends to engage with the network are important, yet distinct, phenomena. ...
... Recent work (Kellogg, 2014;Lingo & O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld, 2017;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016;Sgourev, 2015;Soda et al., 2018) supports the notion that individuals' orientation toward certain brokerage behavior is an important new area of brokerage research. The emerging work in this area, however, has primarily been either theoretical or qualitative in nature. ...
Article
New work in social network theory and research has begun to explore the role of social network process alongside social network structure. Where a first wave of social network research located social network process as implicit in social network structure, new work has argued for a more sophisticated capture of the social network action within social network structure principally in the form of three different brokerage action orientations: tertius gaudens, tertius iungens, and conduit between unconnected parties. Empirical work in this emerging research stream has been either qualitative, or quantitatively captured on only one of these increasingly commonly accepted brokerage orientations. We advance this emerging social network process research stream by developing two new measures of brokerage process—a measure of mediation and separation—to accompany the pre-established tertius iungens measure and by establishing the importance of these multiple measures on critical innovation outcomes.
... First, for research to more accurately identify the effect of network properties and individual networking strategies on the knowledge generation process. Second, for further examination of the interplay between network properties and individual networking strategies to better understand how network resources are mobilized and in what direction (Halevy et al., 2019;Quintane and Carnabuci, 2016;Soda et al., 2018). We aim to contribute to these questions by focusing on an individual networking strategy aimed at connecting others -i.e. a tertius iungens orientation (Obstfeld, 2005) -and investigating whether this networking strategy contributes to overcoming the drawbacks associated to weak network connectivity and excess actor heterogeneity. ...
... There is an emerging strand of work which broadens this theoretical focus to distinguish between social network properties and individual networking behaviors (Halevy et al., 2019;Quintane and Carnabuci, 2016). Although a certain position within a network may set the stage for networking action; the motivation, purpose, and intensity of the strategic networking behavior could vary (Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). We argue that the explicit recognition that individuals differ in their strategic networking orientation helps to explain how different individuals cope with the potential benefits and shortcomings of both structural and institutional separation. ...
... Moreover, it is noteworthy that, as reported in Appendix A3, the variable tertius iungens orientation shows weak correlation with our two network indicators: structural separation (r = 0.10) and institutional separation (r = 0.09). These low correlation coefficients are in line with previous studies which find negligible correlations between tertius iungens and the network structure indicators (Obstfeld, 2005;Soda et al., 2018) 8 . It should be noted that the present study provides additional evidence revealing that weak correlations are observed also between tertius iungens and institutional separation. ...
Article
Research on social networks and innovation emphasizes that individuals spanning structural holes and crossing institutional boundaries have more opportunities for knowledge recombination and innovation involvement. However, transforming the potential knowledge and resources available through personal networks to attain innovation can be difficult for the focal individual. Using an ego-network approach, this study examines whether and to what extent an individual strategic orientation to cooperation (i.e. tertius iungens) contributes to strengthening the relation between two personal network properties (structural and institutional separation) and involvement in innovation. Our analysis is conducted in the context of biomedicine, where research networks are particularly relevant for science and innovation achievements. Our findings advance social network theory by decoupling social network mechanisms from individual strategic networking behavior as factors influencing knowledge generation processes. Results also provide original evidence on an overlooked phenomenon: the moderating role of a tertius iungens orientation in the relationship between multiple social network properties and innovation. Finally, our research sheds new light on the distinct sources of knowledge recombination in networks and the role of individual networking strategies to facilitate mobilization of resources for innovation.
... Recent research has suggested that there are multiple distinct classes of brokerage behavior (Obstfeld, 2017;Spiro, Acton, & Butts, 2013;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016), and an individual's tendency to engage in a certain type of brokerage has been referred to as a brokerage orientation. Research has begun to explore how orientations toward these three forms of brokerage affect social phenomena (Kellogg, 2014;Lingo and O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2017;Sgourev, 2015). In this vein, Obstfeld (2005) introduced a measure of an individual's tertius iungens orientation, which is a strategic behavioral orientation to introduce previously unacquainted network contacts to one another or to stimulate new types of interaction between previously acquainted contacts. ...
... In reaction to the predominantly structuralist approach to brokerage, scholars have begun to emphasize brokerage as social behavior (Lingo & O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld, 2017;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016;Soda et al., 2017). In this view, both the structure of a broker's social network and how he or she tends to engage with the network are important, yet distinct, phenomena. ...
... Recent work (Kellogg, 2014;Lingo and O'Mahony, 2010;Obstfeld, 2017;Quintane & Carnabuci, 2016;Soda et al., 2017;Sgourev, 2015) supports the notion that individuals' orientation toward certain brokerage behavior is an important new area of brokerage research. ...
Article
Full-text available
Brokerage has assumed an increasingly important role in social network research and organizing more generally. Social network research has traditionally defined brokerage in structural terms as a broker who stands between two disconnected parties. Alongside this structural definition, network research has generally made assumptions about, but rarely measured, the brokerage processes engaged when individuals inhabit such network positions. More recent work argues for explicitly addressing brokerage behavior, principally in the form of three brokerage action orientations that focus on distinct brokerage action: joining network contacts (or tertius iungens), mediating between network contacts, and separating network contacts. We advance this emerging research stream by developing measures of the mediation and separation brokerage orientations. These two measures, alongside the pre-established tertius iungens measure (Obstfeld, 2005), present the opportunity to study the role of multiple brokerage orientations and social network structure together. In Studies 1, 2 and 3, we provide evidence for the convergent and discriminant validity of each measure. In Study 4 we establish criterion-related validity by demonstrating the importance of each measure on network structure and innovation outcomes. In so doing, we lay the groundwork for future research to explore how brokerage behavior orientations influence additional organizational phenomena.
... Focusing simultaneously on the consequences and drivers of employees' purposeful networking behavior allows me to reveal ways in which individuals secure resources that help them achieve task-related goals. As such, this study sheds light on the agentic nature of individual behavior, and adds to the nascent stream of research on instrumental networking employed in anticipation of task and professional benefits (e.g., Casciaro et al., 2014;Marineau et al., 2018;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). ...
... All non-respondents were of low hierarchical rank, as defined below. In line with common practice (e.g., Soda et al., 2018), ties to non-respondents were excluded from the empirical analysis. ...
... I have shown that dissonant ties are formed within vertical boundaries but across horizontal boundaries of the organization. Thereby, this study adds to research on the drivers of boundary spanning as a topic of foremost interest for organizational network scholars (e.g., Lomi et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). In this connection, the empirical finding that the formation of difficult ties is unrelated to similarities in formal hierarchical rank and tenure, but more likely to occur within, rather than across, unit boundaries, deserves attention. ...
... We conceptualize the intermediary, conciliatory, and divisive brokering orientations as complementary and habitual behavioral tendencies that characterize how individuals influence others' social networks (cf. Grosser, Obstfeld, Labianca, & Borgatti, 2019;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). We use the term complementary to articulate that different brokering behaviors are not mutually exclusive at the level of the broker. ...
... This conceptualization means we expect individuals to have a stable sense of how they (and other individuals) typically influence others' relationships that researchers can assess with straightforward self-report and other-report measures. Further, we expect brokering orientations to be somewhat (but not completely) stable over time (Soda et al., 2018) and to associate in theoretically meaningful ways with individual differences that previous research has linked to social behavior. Put differently, we expect individuals to engage in brokering behaviors that fit their values, traits, and skills more often, and in brokering behaviors that do not fit their values, traits, and skills less often. ...
... The literature on social networks offers multiple established measures of structural aspects of social networks but few measures of brokering as a social influence process. The few studies that previously explored brokering behavior empirically focused on organizational contexts and distinguished between brokering behaviors based on whether they facilitate direct contact, indirect contact, or no contact between alters (Grosser et al., 2019;Obstfeld, 2005;Soda et al., 2018). Specifically, the tertius iungens measure (Obstfeld, 2005) captures the extent to which brokers promote direct contact between alters, whereas a more recent measure, the DBOS (Disjunctive Brokerage Orientations Scale: Grosser et al., 2019) assesses brokering processes that promote either indirect contact or no contact between alters. ...
Article
Individuals often influence others' relationships, for better or worse. We conceptualize social influence processes that impact others' social networks as brokering, and advance a multifaceted model that explains how brokering behaviors can create, terminate, reinforce, and modify others' network ties. To empirically study brokering, we introduce and validate the Brokering Orientations Scale (BOS), a multidimensional measure that captures individuals' behavioral tendencies to act as intermediaries, conciliators, and dividers. Six studies (N = 1,723) explored the psychometric properties of the BOS (Studies 1a-c) and investigated the effects of distinct forms of brokering on brokers' social capital (Studies 2-4). The intermediary, conciliatory and divisive brokering orientations related differently to extraversion, agreeableness, perspective-taking, moral identity, and Machiavellianism, among other individual differences. The effects of brokering on social capital varied as a function of the brokering orientation and the aspect of social capital. Intermediary behavior garnered status; conciliatory behavior promoted trust and prestige; and divisive behavior fueled brokers' perceived dominance. Overall, the current article elucidates the concept of brokering orientations, introduces a novel measure of brokering orientations, and explains how brokering behavior shapes brokers' social capital. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... This stream of research is purely structural in nature as it assumes that being located on fertile ground provides benefits to ego, irrespective of whether ego is conscious of being in such an advantageous position or not. Soda, Tortoriello, and Iorio (2018) label this as the 'vision' benefit of structural holes. Brokerage positions, thus, offer to actors opportunities, knowledge, and information. ...
... Underlying this idea is the (often implicit) assumption that actors who occupy strategically advantageous positions consciously make use of them and actively engage in strategic behavior as brokers (Easley & Kleinberg, 2010). Recent publications call this a "brokerage orientation" (Grosser, Obstfeld, Labianca, & Borgatti, in press;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). Obstfeld et al. (2014) argue that the concept of brokerage should distinguish between the structural patterns by which the broker connects two otherwise disconnected alters (the "brokerage structure") and the social behavior of third parties (the "brokerage process"). ...
... Although the focal organization does not recognize the advantageous position it is in, it still is in an advantageous position relative to its disconnected alters. As Soda et al. (2018) argue: "In fact, irrespective of strategic orientation [=Tertius Gaudens or Iungens orientations], positions that offer preferential access to others' resources increase the broker's probability of deriving individual benefits" (p.899). This implies that ego receives a higher volume of varied information and knowledge than do organizations that lack structural holes (Burt, 1992(Burt, , 1997(Burt, , 2000. ...
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A large body of the literature has found that occupying structural holes positively affect organizational outcomes. Structural holes pose strategic opportunities for organizations that are knowledgeable of their advantageous position. However, most studies do not take into account whether organizations observe their structural holes accurately. Such observational (in)accuracy might explain variation in return-on-structural-holes. This study investigates the effects of accurate and inaccurate perceptions of organizations’ structural holes position on organizational reputation. We consider scenarios where organizations (correctly) observe or (incorrectly) miss existing structural holes or where they incorrectly observe structural holes in the network. We collected data in two whole networks in the healthcare industry in the Netherlands. We find that accurately observing one’s structural hole position increases organizational reputation. On the flip side, organizations that perceive structural holes that actually do not exist, suffer negative reputation effects. Our research implies that similar network positions can yield differential reputation effects depending on the accuracy of the knowledge of the organization occupying this position.
... Often, however, partners with the highest level of resource complementarity are dependent on each other (Gnyawali & Park, 2009;Pfeffer & Nowak, 1976). Dependence is defined as the extent to which firms can influence each other's outcomes and it is associated with the need to align partners' actions (Casciaro & Piskorski, 2005;Soda et al., 2018). As such, it is a complex process in which the nature and direction of knowledge flows change over time (Moodysson, 2008). ...
... We propose that brokers can influence the degree of resource dependence and correspondence of interests between collaborators because brokers can take on process-oriented tasks, altering the nature of the relationship between partners (Soda et al., 2018). In our study, we focus on a specific type of broker-a research intermediary (RI)-that links industrial firms and facilitates their research collaboration in multi-partner programs (Howells, 2006;Stadtler & Probst, 2012). ...
... We identify different sources of power and dependence and identify new strategies for managing dependence, contrasting the ongoing focus of resource dependence theory (RDT) on high-power actors (Shu & Lewin, 2016). Second, we integrate the structuralist and process view on brokerage (Soda et al., 2018), showing that brokered structure provides different insights into the process of coping with resource dependence due to the specific relationships between the parties involved in the collaboration. Finally, our position highlights the importance of context in mitigating resource dependence in collaborative research structures. ...
Article
This study examines how a research intermediary can successfully manage collaboration among research partners, while mitigating resource dependence in multi-partner programs. For that purpose, two fundamentally different strategies are explored: tertius gaudens and tertius iungens. Previous literature has not addressed the possibility that the effective deployment of tertius broker strategies may be contingent on multiple factors. Using a qualitative in-depth case study, we contribute to the literature by showing that the effective development of the tertius broker strategies in our study context is contingent on partner type, business integration and product readiness.
... Consequently, we extend an emerging research stream addressing brokerage and brokering (Halevy et al., 2019;Kwon et al., 2020). Here, scholars distinguish between the structural argument -brokerage -that is focused on the position of knowledge brokers in the overall online network; and the processual argument -brokering -, where the actual process of knowledge sharing that contributes to knowledge expansion is central (Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). We address the digital affordances of the ESN that renders possible how employees may exhibit brokerage behaviour such as integrating knowledge (Grigoriou & Rothaermel, 2014), facilitating interactions (Lingo & O'Mahony, 2010), motivating cooperative behaviour (Nakashima et al., 2017), and transferring information (Obstfeld et al., 2014). ...
... We argue that bridging members are, by structurally connecting groups and enabling knowledge flows between groups, simultaneously structural and processual brokers. The distinction between structural and processual brokerage is a recent advancement of the brokerage literature (Halevy et al., 2019;Kwon et al., 2020;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). Here, scholars argue that prior work on brokers in networks has paid insufficient attention to the actual processes that brokers engage in, also known as brokering (Halevy et al., 2019). ...
... With this study, we contribute to an emerging research stream addressing brokerage as a process (Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018), or brokering (Halevy et al., 2019;Kwon et al., 2020). Specifically, we argue that 'structural brokers' are ideally positioned to increase knowledge flows between groups; and that 'processual brokerage,' i.e., how these bridging members leverage affordances of digital technologies in an effort to expand knowledge, is a necessary activity to realise this increase. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we hypothesise about the role of bridging members – people who connect otherwise unconnected online groups – on an enterprise social network (ESN) and in what manner their role affects their group’s knowledge expansion. Analysing data from an ESN of a Dutch health insurance company, we show how online groups can benefit from their bridging members who take advantage of the affordances of the digital platform. We find that a larger proportion of bridging members within a group mitigates the decrease in knowledge expansion over time. This research contributes to the literature on online knowledge sharing and social networks by showing the effect of bridging members on knowledge expansion in a digital environment. Our study has implications for organisations who want to leverage knowledge sharing for innovation.
... Research highlights the benefits of being able to broker information between actors and across departments and organisations (often referred to as boundaries) in the treatment of patients (Kellogg, 2014;Broekhuis and Pieter van Donk, 2011). Brokers mobilise information and knowledge through developing collaborative resources, a critical role if value is to be harvested within and across networks (Soda et al, 2018). Within healthcare, professionals are increasingly "being forced to evaluate components across a range of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 o u r n a l o f H e a l t h O r g a n i z a t i o n a n d M a n a g e m e n t 5 different domains -bio-medical, organisational, psychological and social -all at work simultaneously" (Cohn et al., 2013, p.40). ...
... The challenge for the broker is to transfer the information to an actor who will accept and value it (Burt, 2005). Presenting and framing ideas and concepts accurately and concisely to a diverse audience necessitates understanding their needs, capturing their attention, and gaining their support in accepting the information on offer (Soda et al., 2018). It is assumed the broker has a good understanding of the roles, professions, and organisations in which they are brokering, which suggests healthcare professionals are more likely to play this role. ...
... Together they enable the broker to frame ideas and concepts contextually, accurately and concisely, in an audience-specific way, and present them through common meanings such that they are readily accepted (Soda et al., 2018). ...
This research examines how knowledge and information is managed within two care networks. We develop a conceptual framework drawing on the notion of brokering and the 3T framework, which is used to describe the relative complexity of boundaries (referred to in the framework as syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic) as well as capabilities and processes required to exchange information within the network. Previous research on brokering has focused on healthcare managers and professionals this research extends to patients and caregivers. Understanding knowledge exchange and brokering practices in healthcare is critical to the delivery of effective services. For this case research non-participant observation and experienced-based interviews were undertaken with healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers within two care networks. Our findings reveal brokering roles occupied by healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers support the transfer, translation and transformation of knowledge and information across functional and organisational boundaries. Enablers and disablers to brokering and the exchange of knowledge and information are also identified. The study is limited to two care networks for long term conditions within the UK. Further research opportunities exist to examine similar care networks that extend across professional and organisational boundaries. This research informs healthcare professionals of the brokering capabilities that occur within networks and the enabling and disabling factors to managing knowledge across boundaries. This paper provides a conceptual framework that categorises how increased levels of knowledge and information exchange and brokering practices are managed within care networks.
... In other words, if two other actors connected by an actor in the network do not link directly, the network position occupied by the actor is a structural hole (Burt, 2002). It can reflect the individuals' control over resources and information (Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). We infer that low structure holes weaken the influence of role stress on emotional exhaustion. ...
... We infer that low structure holes weaken the influence of role stress on emotional exhaustion. As a kind of bridge in the organization, actors occupying the position of structural holes control the flow of information among circles, gaining vast information and control advantages (Soda et al., 2018). However, according to Xiao and Tsui (2007), employees occupying too many structure holes over-strengthen intermediary identity, resulting in extremely asymmetric information between the two parties, thus lacking the basic conditions for mutual trust. ...
... Such employees have low levels of sentimental and informational support in their social networks. Second, under the condition of "high network centrality-high structural holes", employees occupying the network center position have abundant resources due to the diversification of connections (Soda et al., 2018). However, even if such individuals have more opportunities for internal connectivity, the serious information interweaving and unequal relationships brought by high-level structural holes may lead to a lack of recognition and trust from other members (Vedres & Stark, 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
Little research to date has focused on a social network perspective in the field of knowledge hiding. Therefore, based on a three-wave examination of 222 Chinese employees, we integrated affective events theory and social network theory to investigate how individual network positions become cogent boundary conditions in the process of role stress influencing knowledge hiding through emotional exhaustion. Results revealed that role stress affected knowledge hiding through emotional exhaustion. We further posited that network centrality negatively moderated the effect of role stress on emotional exhaustion. Furthermore, structural holes positively moderated the effect of role stress on emotional exhaustion. Finally, network centrality and structural holes jointly moderated the indirect effect of role stress on knowledge hiding through emotional exhaustion, such that the indirect effect is stronger when low network centrality combined with high structural holes.
... Recent literature distinguishes between brokerage position and the process of brokerage, which we label brokering (Obstfeld, 2005;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). Brokering is a "behavior by which an actor influences, manages, or facilitates interactions between other actors" (Obstfeld et al., 2014, p. 141). ...
... Obstfeld et al. (2014) identified a third brokering process, which they labelled the conduit. However, this third type of brokering process has usually been subsumed by the other types (e.g., Soda et al., 2018) and it does not have a distinguishable structural signature. a broker's unconnected contacts stay disconnected over time. ...
... However, these approaches do not provide a single measure of brokering that can be used to examine the determinants or consequences of engaging in brokering. Instead, the most popular way to measure brokering has been through respondents' overall perceptions of their strategic behavioral orientation (e.g., Obstfeld, 2005;Soda et al., 2018). Although these measures of behavioral orientation are valid representations of individuals' preferences toward a specific form of brokering, they do not measure the actual interaction behavior of individuals. ...
Article
Extant research in organizational networks has provided critical insights into understanding the benefits of occupying a brokerage position. More recently, researchers have moved beyond the brokerage position to consider the brokering processes (arbitration and collaboration) brokers engage in and their implications for performance. However, brokering processes are typically measured using scales that reflect individuals’ orientation toward engaging in a behavior, rather than the behavior itself. In this article, we propose a measure that captures the behavioral process of brokering. The measure indicates the extent to which actors engage in arbitration versus colla- boration based on sequences of time stamped relational events, such as emails, message boards, and recordings of meetings. We demonstrate the validity of our measure as well as its predictive ability. By leveraging the temporal information inherent in sequences of relational events, our behavioral measure of brokering creates opportunities for researchers to explore the dynamics of brokerage and their impact on individuals, and also paves the way for a systematic examination of the temporal dynamics of networks.
... The literature on social networks offers multiple established measures of structural aspects of social networks but few measures of brokering as a social influence process. The few studies that previously explored brokering behavior empirically focused on organizational contexts and distinguished between brokering behaviors based on whether they facilitate direct contact, indirect contact, or no contact between alters (Grosser et al., 2019;Soda et al., 2018). Specifically, the tertius iungens measure captures the extent to which brokers promote direct contact between alters, whereas a more recent measure, the DBOS (Disjunctive Brokerage Orientations Scale: Grosser et al., 2019) assesses brokering processes that promote either indirect contact or no contact between alters. ...
... To the best of our knowledge, the current work is the first empirical investigation to explore how different brokering behaviors relate to complementary aspects of brokers' social capital. Previous research on tertius iungens and gaudens orientations examined how brokering behaviors shape creativity and innovation in organizations (Grosser et al., 2019;Kaupilla, Bizzi, & Obstfeld, 2017; and employee performance evaluations (Soda et al., 2018). Here we explore how intermediary, conciliatory, and divisive brokering orientations relate to brokers' social capital. ...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals often influence others' relationships, for better or worse. We conceptualize social influence processes that impact others' social networks as brokering, and advance a multifaceted model that explains how brokering behaviors can create, terminate, reinforce, and modify others' network ties. To empirically study brokering, we introduce and validate the Brokering Orientations Scale (BOS), a multidimensional measure that captures individuals' behavioral tendencies to act as intermediaries, conciliators, and dividers. Six studies (N=1,723) explored the psychometric properties of the BOS (Studies 1a-1c) and investigated the effects of distinct forms of brokering on brokers' social capital (Studies 2-4). The intermediary, conciliatory and divisive brokering orientations related differently to extraversion, agreeableness, perspective-taking, moral identity and Machiavellianism, among other individual differences. The effects of brokering on social capital varied as a function of the brokering orientation and the aspect of social capital. Intermediary behavior garnered status; conciliatory behavior promoted trust and prestige; and divisive behavior fueled brokers' perceived dominance. Overall, the current paper elucidates the concept of brokering orientations, introduces a novel measure of brokering orientations, and explains how brokering behavior shapes brokers' social capital.
... Brokerage occurs in a network when a social actor has ties to actors who are otherwise disconnected from one another (Gould and Fernandez 1989). Over the last few decades, network research has made great strides in theorizing and documenting the benefits of brokerage for individuals and organizations, and specifying the boundary conditions around those benefits (Battilana and Casciaro 2012, Burt 2005, Fleming et al. 2007, Soda et al. 2018, Xiao and Tsui 2007. Brokerage "gives information breadth, timing, and arbitrage advantages to people whose networks span the structural holes" (Burt 2015: 150). ...
... Furthermore, depending on their circumstances, people display varying orientations toward connecting disconnected alters (Grosser et al. forthcoming, Obstfeld 2005, Soda et al. 2018. Team-specific unobserved characteristics may also affect the extent to which brokers experience psychological distress in maintaining relationships with disconnected members. ...
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Adapting to network contacts' incompatible expectations and engaging with these expectations instrumentally can elicit cognitive dissonance in people occupying network brokerage and make others perceive the brokers negatively, which can threaten brokers' self-integrity-the sense of being a good and appropriate person. We argue that network brokers cope with the threat to their self-integrity with motivated perceptions of their disconnected contacts that help them justify the lack of social ties between their contacts: namely, brokers tend to perceive their disconnected contacts as being "meant to be disconnected." To corroborate the mechanism underlying this hypothesis, we further argue that this perception of disconnected contacts is attenuated through self-affirmation of brokers' personal values unrelated to the threat, because self-affirmation decreases the threat to their self-integrity and enhances their self-view. We find support of our hypotheses in an experimental study that uses a novel paradigm to experimentally manipulate network positions. We find additional and complementary support from a field study of 170 professionals working in 26 teams in the finance, fashion, and the electric power industries, where network brokers perceive disconnected alters with little intention to socially integrate. From our theory and findings, we advance a view of brokerage as a psychological phenomenon, in addition to a structural one.
... When brokers behave as tertius separans-also called disjunct (Grosser, Obstfeld, Labianca & Borgatti, 2019) or arbitraging (Soda, Tortoriello & Iorio, 2018), as well as tertius gaudens -they keep the alters unconnected. According to Spiro and colleagues (2013), brokers can engage in this tertius separans behavior through two types of brokerage processes: transfer and coordination. ...
... In contrast, when brokers behave as tertius iungens (the third who joins)-also called catalyst (Stovel, Golub & Milgrom, 2011) or collaborating (Soda et al., 2018) brokerage-they try to introduce or facilitate ties between previously unconnected alters , engaging in matchmaking . When a broker introduces or facilitates such ties between alters, this iungens behavior can either decrease in importance over time (brief iungens) or stay essential (sustained iungens) . ...
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Network brokerage research has grown rapidly in recent decades, spanning the boundaries of multiple social science disciplines as well as diverse research areas within management. Accordingly, we take stock of the literature on network brokerage and provide guidance on ways to move this burgeoning research area forward. We provide a comprehensive review of this literature, including crucial dimensions of the concept itself, in terms of brokerage structure and behavior, a set of key categories of factors surrounding the brokerage concept (antecedents, outcomes, and moderators), and an overview of brokerage dynamics over time. We use these dimensions and categories to depict network brokerage's theoretical and empirical underpinnings, as well as evaluate prior research efforts. In so doing, we offer a means to summarize and synthesize this large, interdisciplinary literature, identify important research gaps, and offer promising directions for future research.
... In this way, the acquirer can signal its legitimacy (Reuer & Ragozzino, 2014), to be recognized and accepted by relevant organizations in the host country to create connections, thus further improve external network centrality. A low-degree integration can preserve the heterogeneous connections accumulated by the target, maintain existing bridge relationships or catching opportunities to "arbitrage" by leveraging the persistence of disconnections (Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018), and thus improve external network structural holes. complementarity, although the similarity promotes the absorption, the nature of complementarity means that the familiarity with the target is limited. ...
... By coordinating with the target who has higher status, the acquirer can obtain implicit certification, release trust signals, and attract potential organizational connections (Elio, Martin, & Ainhoa, 2018), which can improve external network centrality. A moderatedegree integration enables the acquirer to retain the external relationships of target which can provide diversification opportunities, and maintain the "tension" between disconnected others (Soda et al., 2018). At the same time, the acquirer has certain control over the target's external network by adopting a moderate-degree integration, which can delete connections that provide redundant information flows to avoid over-embedding (Wal, Alexy, Block, & Sandner, 2016), and thus improve external network structural holes. ...
Article
Overseas mergers and acquisitions (M&A) integration is an effective way to promote home-country industrial innovation. However, much remains unknown about this mechanism. We provide a comprehensive understanding, by taking a resource-based view, focusing on the role of internal and external networks as bridge, and exploring the moderating effect of home-country institution. Based on 119 samples in China and 311 samples in the U.S. of technology-sourcing overseas M&A, structural equation model analysis reveals that in a more developed home-country institution, American acquirers’ appropriate integration matched with resource relatedness significantly improves internal network cohesion and external network position, promoting industrial innovation. In contrast, constrained by a less developed home-country institution, Chinese acquirers’ internal network cohesion improvement is only significant in low-degree integration matched with high-resource-complementarity and low-resource-similarity, and the mediating effect of external network position improvement is significantly weaker than that of American. Research conclusions provide insights into the catching-up of latecomers.
... Brokering activities can be harmful, aimed at dividing others and taking advantage from the separation between others as a tertius gaudens (Burt 1992), or helpful, aimed at facilitating collaboration between others. Among the helpful activities, prior research further distinguishes between a tertius iungens approach-that is, establishing or strengthening connections between others in order to facilitate direct collaboration between them (Obstfeld 2005)-and a conduit approach-that is, coordinating the transfer of information, knowledge, or other resources between others without attempting to connect them directly (Obstfeld et al. 2014, Soda et al. 2018. We argue that, because of the characteristics of temporal networks outlined above, individuals who are in a position of temporal brokerage in a global team will be particularly likely to engage in conduit brokering. ...
... Third, this last insight also has important implications for our understanding of the relationship between the structural notion of brokerage and the behavioral notion of brokering more generally. Recent work on brokerage and brokering treats the structural position of brokerage as independent from an individual's behavioral pattern when they are in a brokerage position-for example, whether they engage in a more collaborative or more dividing form of brokering (Soda et al. 2018). The argument is that "networks do not act" (Burt 2012, p. 544), but rather are the result of complex interactions among actors. ...
Article
Members of global teams are often dispersed across time zones. This paper introduces the construct of temporal brokerage, which we define as being in a position within a team’s temporal structure that bridges subgroups that have little or no temporal overlap with each other. Although temporal brokerage is not a formal role, we argue that occupying such a position makes an individual more likely to take on more coordination work than other members on the team. We suggest that, while engaging in such coordination work has advantages in the form of enhanced integrative complexity, it also comes with costs in the form of a greater workload relative to other members. We further argue that the increased integrative complexity and workload that result from occupying a position of temporal brokerage have implications that go beyond the boundaries of the focal team, spilling over into other projects the individual is engaged in. Specifically, we predict that being in positions of temporal brokerage on global teams decreases the quantity but increases the quality of an individual’s total productive output. We find support for these predictions across two studies comprising 4,553 individuals participating in global student project teams and 123,586 individuals participating in global academic research teams, respectively. The framework and findings presented in this paper contribute to theories of global teamwork, pivotal roles and leadership emergence in global teams, and social network theory.
... The brokerage literature describes three main types of brokerage processes that can take place in networks, depending on the activities performed by the broker: conduit, tertius gaudens and tertius iungens brokerage (Kwon et al., 2020;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018). Conduit brokerage is concerned with passing information from one alter to another, without attempting to change the relation between the alters. ...
... Voluntary brokers operate in what Ferraro et al. (2015, p. 376) call "distributed experimentation", with a central role for intermediaries who engage with other actors over time, through iterative action and evolutionary learning. Analyzing the brokerage processes present in the PRME Chapter France-Benelux, led to the discovery of complex brokerage processes of the sustained tertius iungens type (see Kwon et al., 2020;Obstfeld et al., 2014;Soda et al., 2018), which take place on different levels and primarily consist of relational activities (Bouwen & Taillieu, 2004), rather than having immediate tangible outcomes. We identify multilevel interactions, affected by a number of general contextual and sustainability-specific process facilitators. ...
Article
Intermediary actors have been recognized for their role in facilitating collaborations to achieve sustainability goals. Yet how voluntary sustainability collaborations, guided by intermediary actors, unfold in practice remains underdeveloped. Building on empirical data from the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) network and using a network brokerage lens, we unfold dynamics of voluntary sustainability collaboration in the presence of an intermediary actor. We find that intermediaries act as sustained iungens brokers in voluntary sustainability collaborations, by connecting other actors and coordinating new collaborations in a multi-level network. Their activities are affected by tensions inherent to iungens brokerage in a voluntary setting, and factors influencing the success of the network collaborations. We contribute to the sustainability literature by offering a firsthand view on the dynamics of sustainability collaborations through an autoethnographic approach. We provide implications for sustainability collaborations in voluntary settings and recommendations for advancing responsible management education through collaboration.
... Structural holes, which are supposed to lead to advantageous consequences, can transfer the fresh knowledge and information flow between firms each other, and bridge firms from two sides of the holes (Burt, 2004). Most of the research on structural holes has focused on prior brokerage (Yin et al., 2012), internal capabilities (Liao and Phan, 2016), knowledge diversity (Zhang and Luo, 2020), geographical proximity (Soda et al., 2018), knowledge stock (Yan and Guan, 2018), and a number of partners (Yin et al., 2012;Guan et al., 2017). Prior studies have shown that firms with rich structural holes may solve different intractable problems in the process of R&D projects in the R&D network (Zaheer and Bell, 2005;Yan and Guan, 2018). ...
... Considering integrating new cooperative partners' resources with firms' current routines need to take more time and costs, but firms with rich structural holes may overcome existing phenomena to identify synergies and create a new platform for partners (Yin et al., 2012;Yan and Guan, 2018). Moreover, firms with rich structural holes can leverage the advantages of predictability and controlling the capability of information flow to establish cooperative relationships (Soda et al., 2018;Wen et al., 2020). ...
Article
Drawing from resource dependence theory and social network theory, we explain how structural holes impact on network expansion in the R&D network. We adopt the social network perspectives to extend this research by offering a model that examines how knowledge recombination moderates relationship between structural holes and network expansion. We collect the panel patent data from information and communication technology (ICT) industry between 1994 and 2016 by Derwent Innovation Database, and use the fixed-effects negative binomial regression model to test the hypotheses. Results reveal that structural holes have a positive impact on network expansion. In addition, this relationship is positively moderated by the potential for knowledge recombination and negatively moderated by coordination cost of knowledge recombination.
... There is strong empirical support for the competitive advantage of network brokers: brokers are more creative and innovative and receive more positive performance evaluations, higher compensation, and more likely promotions (e.g., Burt et al. 2013). Yet how exactly do brokers generate value from information diversity (Obstfeld 2005;Burt 2010Burt , 2021Vissa 2012;Quintane and Carnabuci 2016;Soda et al. 2018)? Broker advantage could be a purely structural story about brokers being in the right place at the right time to access and arbitrage valuable bits of information across groups. ...
... Their analysis of email traffic over time within a study organization shows that brokers display distinct behavioral styles as they are more likely to engage in unembedded brokerage interactions. Related work by Goldberg et al. (2016) and Soda et al. (2018), respectively, describe manager communication behavior and behavioral preferences affecting the rewards associated with structural holes in a manager's network. ...
Article
It is well known in economics, law, and sociology that reputation costs in a closed network give insiders a feeling of being protected from bad behavior in their relations with one another. A person accustomed to doing business within a closed network is, therefore, likely to feel at unusual risk when asked to cooperate beyond the network because of absent reputation-cost security. It follows that business leaders in more closed networks should be less likely to cooperate beyond their network (Hypothesis 1). Success reinforces the status quo. Business leaders successful with a closed network associate their success with the safety of their network, so they should be even less likely to cooperate with a stranger (Hypothesis 2). We combine network data from a heterogeneous area probability survey of Chinese CEOs with a behavioral measure of cooperation to show strong empirical support for the two hypotheses. CEOs in more closed networks are less likely to cooperate beyond their network, especially those running successful businesses: successful CEOs in closed networks are particularly likely to defect against people beyond their network. The work contributes to a growing literature linking network structure with behavior: here, the closure that facilitates trust and cooperation within a network simultaneously erodes the probability of cooperation beyond the network, thereby reinforcing a social boundary around the network. Taking our results as a baseline, we close sketching new research on personality, homophily, network dynamics, and variation in the meaning of “beyond the network.”
... For example, Stata's margins command calculates adjusted predictions by default. 17. Soda et al. (2018) presented a scatterplot of the data in one of their plots, and Hornstein and Zhao (2018) applied a binned scatterplot. Although a binned scatterplot is useful for verifying that the functional form of the model is correct, it has the disadvantage that it hides the variation of the data, thus making it more difficult to assess the magnitude of the effects. ...
Article
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Transforming variables before analysis or applying a transformation as a part of a generalized linear model are common practices in organizational research. Several methodological articles addressing the topic, either directly or indirectly, have been published in the recent past. In this article, we point out a few misconceptions about transformations and propose a set of eight simple guidelines for addressing them. Our main argument is that transformations should not be chosen based on the nature or distribution of the individual variables but based on the functional form of the relationship between two or more variables that is expected from theory or discovered empirically. Building on a systematic review of six leading management journals, we point to several ways the specification and interpretation of nonlinear models can be improved.
... It is one thing to be exposed to diverse knowledge and practice that defines an opportunity. It is quite another to recognize and develop the opportunity (Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). Diverse information is readily available from professionals, social media, or word of mouth. ...
Article
This article is about the network theory of advantage applied to entrepreneurship and an area-probability sample of 700 Chinese entrepreneurs, using 2,193 American and European managers as a baseline comparison group. The article deals with how certain entrepreneurs are disadvantaged by their networks, the contrasting forms that disadvantage takes in China and the West, the role of family in the Chinese networks, and ultimately the robustness of network theory to the cultural, structural, and content variations discussed.
... Brokering activities aimed at facilitating coordination and cooperation take many different forms. For instance, they may entail promoting direct contact between the two alters or serving as the only bridge between two alters without connecting them directly to each other (Soda et al., 2018). Promoting coordination and cooperation sometimes require considerable effort and even ingenuity by third parties who need to identify opportunities for transferring information or resources from one context to another; selectively choose which ideas are worth pursuing and which relationships can potentially be fruitfully cultivated; translate, frame, or otherwise transform the information that has particular meaning and value in context A into useful information in context B; choose whether or not to facilitate direct contact between the alters; consider how to present the collaborative pursuit to each of the parties; decide whether to charge the brokered parties for their helpful brokerage; determine whether they need to continuously monitor and take actions to sustain the relationship; and more (Burt, 1992;Podolny & Baron, 1997). ...
Article
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Brokerage and brokering are pervasive and consequential organizational phenomena. Prevailing models underscore social structure and focus on the consequences that come from brokerage —occupying a bridging position between disconnected others in a network. In contrast, emerging models underscore social interactions and focus on brokering — the behavioral processes through which organizational actors shape others’ relationships. Our review led us to develop a novel framework as a means to integrate and organize a wide range of theoretical insights and empirical findings on brokerage and brokering. The COR (Changing Others’ Relationships) framework captures the following ideas that emerged from our review: (a) different triadic configurations enable different forms of brokering, which in turn, produce distinct effects on others’ relationships; (b) brokering is a multifaceted social influence process that can take the form of intermediation (connecting disconnected others) or modification (changing others’ preexisting relationships); (c) comparing social relations pre-brokering versus post-brokering reveals a broker’s impact; (d) brokering can influence others’ relationships positively or negatively; and (e) information and incentives are two principal means through which individuals change others’ relationships. Overall, the current review integrates multiple streams of research relevant to brokerage and brokering — including those on structural holes, organizational innovation, boundary spanning, social and political skill, workplace gossip, third-party conflict managers, and labor relations — and links each of the emergent themes identified in the current review to promising directions for future research on brokerage and brokering.
... Az egyik fő előnye a közvetítői tevékenységnek, hogy olyan, a tranzakció szereplői számára értékes információkat hoznak a felszínre, melyek máskülönben rejtve maradnának [18], ezzel is üzleti lehetőségeket teremtve. A közvetítő szándéka a kompenzációigény mentes információátadástól egészen a másik fél kihasználásáig, nem valós információval való gazdálkodásig terjedhet [14]. ...
Article
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A globális gazdasági rendszer üzleti tranzakciókból áll, melynek legértékesebb entitása az információ, amelynek az áramoltatása és védelme rendkívül fontos. A folyamat kulcsszereplői a közvetítők, akik a kutatás szempontjából azok a személyek, akik a tranzakció két végpontja között áramoltatják az információt. Jelen kutatás a nemzetközi üzleti tranzakciók során a közvetí- tők bizalmas információhoz kapcsolódó viselkedését vizsgálja és az ahhoz kapcsolódó kockázati tényezőket kívánja feltárni. A vizsgálat során az adatgyűjtés mélyinterjúkkal történt, az adatelemzést grounded theory módszertannal végeztük. A kutatás eredménye szerint a folyamat hat szakaszból áll, határvonalat húzva a folyamat formális és informális elemei között. Bemutatásra kerülnek az információközvetítéssel kapcsolatos kockázati tényezők, amelyek az üzlet pozitív kimenetét veszélyeztetik. Az interjúk eredményei alapján az egyik legjelentősebb információbiztonsági kockázatot az jelenti, hogy az üzletkötésig vezető folyamat nem dokumentált, ezáltal az eljárás nem nyomon követhető.
... Despite the usefulness of the orientation constructs, especially in explaining performance heterogeneity, several recent studies point out that several more nuanced variables need to be included to capture firms' behaviours; e.g. network knowledge (Scott-Kennel and Giroud 2015), supply base (Ziggers and Henseler 2016), indirect supply network relationships (Kim 2014;Lu and Shang 2017), network positions (Soda, Tortoriello, and Iorio 2018). ...
Article
Business orientation constructs have contributed to the understanding of firm-level conduct and performance heterogeneity. Empirical work on business orientations has focused on developing characterizations of a firm’s propensity to engage a variety of behaviors, e.g. strategic, market, and entrepreneurship orientations. While significant progress in the refinement of these constructs has been made, there is need to transcend the established notions of how managerial focus has been typified. Therefore, our study posits that an orientation scale can be developed to depict the ways that organizations position themselves and how they choose to pursue opportunities that are embedded within their networked relationships. We synthesize prior theoretical work to develop the network orientation construct; alongside various derived dimensions and operational indicators. To validate the measurement scale we use exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis on a sample of 305 respondents from the logistics service industry. The results support four out of five theoretically derived dimensions: structural network embeddedness, the interaction of indirect relations, interdependence within the network, and resources sharing. Additionally, we examine the nomological validity of the network orientation construct and find an indirect association with performance through the development of organizational capabilities.
... These actions require brokers to move a piece of information (e.g., article) termed token (which for clarity we call information) from actor A to actor C. The source of information can be a person or another entity such as an organization and a platform (Obstfeld 2017), or even a bot. While Obstfeld is perhaps the leading articulator of conduit brokerage, the perspective has been recently applied across a wide range of contexts, including individual performance (Soda et al. 2018), mediated sensemaking (Strike and Rerup 2015), dialogical diffusion (Romanos 2016), and innovation (Grosser et al. 2018). In these studies, humans (e.g., employees and coworkers; organizational board members, most trusted advisors, and family members; and activists) are usually the sources, brokers, and receivers of information. ...
Article
Despite increased empirical attention, theory on bots and how they act to disseminate information on social media remains poorly understood. Our study leverages the conduit brokerage perspective and the findings of a multiple case study to develop a novel framework of algorithmic conduit brokerage for understanding information dissemination by bots and the design choices that may influence their actions. Algorithmic conduit brokerage encompasses two intertwined processes. The first process, algorithmic social alertness, relies on bot activity to curate and reconfigure information. Algorithmic social alertness is significant because it involves action triggers that dictate the kinds of information being searched, discovered, and retrieved by bots. The second process, algorithmic social transmission, relies on bot activity to embellish and distribute the information curated. Algorithmic social transmission is important because it can broaden the reach of information disseminated by bots through increased discoverability and directed targeting. The two algorithmic conduit brokerage processes we offer are unique to bots and distinct from the original conceptualization of conduit brokerage, which is rooted in human activity. First, since bots lack the human ability of sensemaking and are instead fueled by automation and action triggers rather than by emotions, algorithmic conduit brokerage is more invariant and reliable than human conduit brokerage. Second, automation increases the speed and scale of information curation and transfer, making algorithmic conduit brokerage not only more consistent but also faster and more extensive. Third, algorithmic conduit brokerage includes a set of new concepts (e.g., action triggers and rapid scaling) that are specific to bots and therefore not applicable to human conduit brokerage.
... Networking is related to, but distinct from social capital (e.g., Adler and Kwon, 2002;Coleman, 1988). It is an individual-level construct focusing on individual agency (Bensaou et al., 2013) whereas research on social capital adopts a social network perspective focusing on structural features such as network size or network brokerage (e.g., Soda et al., 2018). Yet, networking behaviors should result in a social network with resourceful contacts. ...
Article
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Purpose While studies have established that networking is an investment in an individual's career that pays off, recent research has begun to examine the potential costs of networking. This study suggests that prior research is limited in scope, as it remains focused on the work domain. Drawing upon the work home resources model (Ten Brummelhuis and Bakker, 2012), the authors broaden this perspective and develop a framework of negative consequences in nonwork domains. The paper proposes that networking generates costs in nonwork domains, because it requires the investment of finite energy resources in the work domain, and people lack these resources in other domains. Design/methodology/approach This study uses structural equation modeling of multisource data from N = 306 individuals and their partners to examine how networking affects two distinct nonwork outcomes: work–family conflict and work–life balance. Findings Analyses support the general framework: networking is related to time- and strain-based work–family conflict, and work time mediates the relationship between networking and these forms of conflict. Moreover, networking exhibits an inverted U-shaped relationship with work–life balance, indicating that excessive networking as well as a lack of networking decrease work–life balance. Originality/value This study adds to the emergent literature on the negative consequences of networking. The findings suggest that employees and organizations should adopt a broader and more balanced perspective on networking: one that takes the well-known benefits – but also potential costs in work and nonwork domains – into account.
... The ability of a crowd innovation space is limited, which leads it difficult to maintain frequent interaction with every network node of the ecosystem, therefore, for some social network relationships that cannot make the crowd innovation space form unique competitiveness, they can spend less time and energy to acquire and maintain, for example, the crowd innovation space with third-party service institutions often need only through the contract in the form of the connections in a business, without the need for frequent interaction. Both sides of the economic behavior are affected by weak relationships embeddedness (Soda et al., 2018). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study the operation mechanism of the ecosystem of crowd innovation space. Though the crowd innovation space is a new product of China's innovation-driven strategy, there are some barriers in operation. So, this problem is worthy of study. Design/methodology/approach In this study, data were obtained through four-month field investigation and semistructured interview, then classified and analyzed through grounded theory, because grounded theory is conducive to the exploration and discovery of new theories. Findings This study finds that the relationship between makerspace and entrepreneurs is strong social relational embeddedness. The relationship between crowd innovation space and governments and investment institutions is economic relational embeddedness. Under these social network ties, entrepreneurs, crowd innovation space, social investment institutions and so on can interact directly with each other to different degrees, carry out value cocreation activities and improve the benefits of all elements in the ecosystem and the ecosystem itself. Originality/value This study researches the operation mechanism of crowd innovation space ecosystem and identifies the ties between various elements in the ecosystem on the perspective of social network, which is conducive to improve the self-generating capacity of crowd innovation space and enhance the success rate of entrepreneurship.
... In particular, a vast amount of research has shown that by linking otherwise disconnected individuals, brokers are exposed to nonredundant information (e.g., Burt, 1992) that can help the individuals to produce novel ideas (e.g., Ahuja, 2000;Burt, 2004Burt, , 2010Zaheer & Soda, 2009). Social network positions rich in structural holes enhances individuals' performance by granting individuals informational and control benefits (e.g., Burt, 1992;Gargiulo & Benassi, 2000;Granovetter, 1973;Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). Individuals connected to multiple external actors through weak ties are more likely to find non-redundant sources of knowledge (Burt, 1992(Burt, , 2004Hansen, 1999;Moran, 2005). ...
Article
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Previous research has shown the importance of individual learning goal orientation for both job and task performance and consequently organizational performance. Despite its importance, knowledge on the antecedents of learning goal orientation remains scarce, especially in the context of self‐managing team‐based organizations. In fact, most of the research on goal orientation antecedents has been focused on individual characteristics, belief, and ability, while the contextual factors that might influence them remain unspecified. We build on and further extend earlier studies by jointly exploring the role of individual and contextual factors affecting individual learning orientation. In particular, this study combines individual informal social network, self‐efficacy, performance feedbacks, and team identification into a model that explains individuals' learning goal orientation within self‐managing team‐based organizations. The model was empirically tested on a sample of 104 individuals belonging to an R&D organization relying on self‐managing teams. Results show that performance feedback has a negative direct effect, while team identification has a positive direct effect on individual learning goal orientation. In addition, we found that individual self‐efficacy is a mediator of the relationships between performance feedback and brokerage in the advice network and individual learning goal orientation. Finally, we did not find a relationship between centrality in the friendship network and individual learning goal orientation.
... ESC is associated with an individualistic working style, that is, employees may be more concerned with their own personal advancement than that of the collective or the company. An individualistic stance on using social networks to gain information insight can lead to an improvement in individual performance and achievement of key performance indicators compared to those who focus on collaboration (Soda et al., 2018). However, there is little evidence to suggest that ESC characteristics can directly improve an organisation's quality or overall operational performance. ...
Article
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Research has extensively focused on how firms can become more competitive, by discovering new knowledge domains while exploiting current ones. Prior research has shown the positive impact of social capital on performance, however, there have been no empirical studies that distinguished between the architectures of social capital and how they impact the operational performance dimensions. Building upon the knowledge-based theory, we propose a model to examine the effects of the two architectures of social capital (entrepreneurial and cooperative) on individual dimensions of operational performance (quality, delivery, flexibility and cost). The hypotheses are tested using structural equation modelling and data collected from 182 companies in Ireland. The results show that the cooperative social capital archetype supports the operational performance dimensions, while the entrepreneurial social capital archetype only impacts the cost dimension. The findings extend the current understanding about the complex relationships among the architectures of social capital and provide guidance for managers on how to leverage their investments in social capital to enhance specific operational performance dimensions.
... Brokerage is associated with manifold structural advantages (Burt, 1992), but brokers do not benefit in their performance equally (Burt et al., 2013). Recent research has examined broker's actual intention and behavior that help arbitrage from brokerage (Soda, Tortoriello, & Iorio, 2018). However, overreliance on the rational model of agency constrains our understanding of why some people do not benefit from this usually beneficial position. ...
... If entrepreneurs can carry out more SI initiatives by taking advantage of their different types of relationships, it seems attractive to improve their venture by exploring these relationships as a source of new ideas, inspirations and opportunities for SIs. Precisely, the literature shows the intermediary as a privileged actor in terms of different capitals (social, cultural and informational, among others) for nurturing relationships that capture these capitals from different parts and contexts (Burt, 1992;Soda et al., 2018). There is a tendency, therefore, for such relationships to bring more powerful resources as entrepreneurs are structurally interwoven in a wide network and operating in different locations (Smith & Stevens, 2010). ...
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Resumo Estudamos como uma comunidade brasileira respondeu a um desastre com várias inovações sociais (IS) propiciadas por bricolagem social e intermediação com stakeholders. O artigo busca explicar tais processos e sua inter-relação. A abordagem metodológica foi majoritariamente indutiva, utilizando entrevistas abertas e semiestruturadas e análise documental, além da experiência do autor principal, que residiu na localidade antes, durante e após o desastre. Nossos resultados sugerem que este abalou o equilíbrio social da comunidade de diversas maneiras e desencadeou ondas subsequentes de IS ligadas a bricolagem social e intermediação, as quais se amenizaram parcialmente ao longo do tempo. A originalidade e o valor do artigo derivam do contexto único e negligenciado de recuperação pós-desastre em um país emergente e da aplicação de avanços na conceitualização da intermediação e de sua relação com a bricolagem social e a IS.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to provide evidence on the impact of network flexibility and its ambidextrous influence on a firm's exploratory and exploitative partnership selection. Design/methodology/approach The authors develop our hypotheses based on the literature of network flexibility and draw on a sample of publicly listed firms in Taiwan semiconductor and optoelectronics industries. The authors collect our data from survey questionnaires and archival sources and examine our hypotheses by using the generalized linear model (GLM) approach. Findings The authors’ empirical findings show that configuration flexibility has a greater influence on exploratory partnerships, while manufacturing flexibility has a greater impact on exploitative partnerships. In addition, when firms are ambidextrous (i.e. have both types of flexibility), they are able to simultaneously obtain both exploratory and exploitative partnerships. The authors’ findings indicate that balancing network flexibility is critical when firms execute ambidextrous alliance strategies. Research limitations/implications The authors’ use of survey data to measure network flexibility may limit our observations related to network evolution. In addition, the authors’ use of public annual reports to capture firm partnerships may cause us to ignore informal relationships between partners. Practical implications The authors’ empirical findings suggest that the types of partnerships firms develop depend on which types of flexibility they possess. The results further suggest that decision makers have to find a way to develop a balanced strategy between network configuration and manufacturing flexibility when they would like to develop an ambidextrous alliance strategy. Originality/value The authors’ study advances the understanding in the literature on supply chain flexibility and its ambidexterity by connecting network flexibility and ambidextrous alliance strategy. The authors offer a guide to supply chain managers in the area of network design.
Article
With the fast development of information communication technologies, firms break through geographic restrictions and form into virtual clusters for innovation. Existing studies mostly explore the innovation ecosystem by applying either a macro-level perspective or a micro-level perspective, which cannot answer how firms establish connections in their virtual clusters to promote innovation. Therefore, using large-scale patent data and topological clustering algorithms, this study explores the impacts of firms’ characteristics within the virtual cluster on their innovation in the global hydropower industry from 1987 to 2019. The findings suggest that firms have better innovation performance with higher degree centrality and more structural holes within the virtual cluster. Moreover, small firms benefit more from degree centrality within the virtual cluster than big firms. This paper makes up for the lack of recent research on virtual clusters and provides implications for managers and policymakers.
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Building on recent efforts to bring a socio-political perspective to social capital research, we develop and test a multilevel framework that explains why middle managers who occupy brokerage positions differ in their ability and willingness to engage in entrepreneurial behavior. More specifically, we provide a contextualized understanding of the links among middle managers’ brokerage, their political-support ties, and their personal initiative. Results derived from data on 383 middle managers and 72 top managers in 34 business units indicate that political-support ties with top managers strengthen the relationship between middle managers’ brokerage and personal initiative. However, this positive effect depends on the social capital resources available in the focal business unit. It is attenuated in business units with a supportive and trusting social context and amplified in business units with high levels of internal connectedness. By uncovering these incompatibilities and complementarities, our study demonstrates the value of accounting for different social capital configurations and the interplay of their inherent social capital resources when examining the effects of brokerage on corporate entrepreneurship.
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Multinational corporations (MNCs) need to sense, source, and mobilize knowledge when and where it arises, whether at home, or elsewhere in the world. For this reason, MNCs benefit from employee networks of relationships that span across intraorganizational barriers, allowing for the efficient mobilization of knowledge across boundaries. Yet, which organizational members are more likely to be able to develop these boundary spanning networks? We leverage a unique data set from a large multinational corporation to empirically test a comprehensive model that captures the effect of an employee's mandate, expertise, and behavioral orientations on her likelihood to span intraorganizational boundaries that manifest themselves in the form of hierarchies, intra-functional domains, and geographic territories. We find that the employees that are more likely to be boundary spanners are those having mandates with a global impact, high levels of expertise, and a collaborative orientation in their networking behaviors. In addition, we find that these effects are stronger for those employees that have large formal workflow networks.
Chapter
Social networks are ubiquitous. The science of networks has shaped how researchers and society understand the spread of disease, the precursors of loneliness, the rise of protest movements, the causes of social inequality, the influence of social media, and much more. Egocentric analysis conceives of each individual, or ego, as embedded in a personal network of alters, a community partially of their creation and nearly unique to them, whose composition and structure have consequences. This volume is dedicated to understanding the history, present, and future of egocentric social network analysis. The text brings together the most important, classic articles foundational to the field with new perspectives to form a comprehensive volume ideal for courses in network analysis. The collection examines where the field of egocentric research has been, what it has uncovered, and where it is headed.
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A key premise in innovation literature suggests that individuals enabling contact between pairs of otherwise disconnected others (i.e., holding open triads) are more innovative, as they benefit from more opportunities for knowledge recombination. Such benefits also come with a cost, as conducting innovative action from open triads requires finding common ground to coordinate and integrate disparate knowledge and efforts from unconnected others. However, it is yet unclear which specific open triadic structures offer the greatest net value to facilitate individual innovativeness. We contribute to this debate by going beyond a homogeneous conceptualization of open triads, examining the relation between different brokerage roles and individual innovativeness. We theorize that some roles are more balanced than others in terms of access to knowledge novelty and integration costs. Specifically, we find that balanced open triads (gatekeepers and itinerant roles) are crucial to facilitate individual innovativeness, as compared to unbalanced open triads (coordinator and liaison roles). We also propose that brokers obtain the greatest innovation benefits from balanced open triads when they are embedded in institutional settings that are distant from knowledge applicability. We test our ideas through a large‐scale study of 1.010 biomedical scientists.
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Purpose The authors selected global automobile manufacturing firms whose sales ranked within 100 in the five years from 2014 to 2018 in the Factiva database to examine how the characteristics of a firm's whole network and ego-network in a transnational coopetition network influence network performance. Design/methodology/approach The authors analyzed the public news of the sample firms about the coopetition by structural content analysis to build the coopetition networks and access to data on the competitive actions of firms. Then, to measure the variables associated with the coopetition network, such as the structural hole, centrality and ego-network stability, the authors use UCINET 6 that is a widely used piece of software for social network analysis to establishing five undirected binary adjacency matrices. Findings The authors find that a firm's competitive aggressiveness mediates the relationship between a firm's whole network position and network performance that emphasizes the need for integrating competitive dynamics research and coopetition research and shows how valuable insights can be gained through such integration. And the interaction of structural hole and centrality impacts competitive aggressiveness and network performance, and the interaction is different under high and low ego-network stability. The integration of whole network and ego-network literature studies provides new insights into firm network literature. Practical implications In the process of cooperation, firms should consider whether they can occupy the structural hole and center as important indicators for partner selection. Too stable relationship will prevent firms from obtaining new resources. Firms should weigh the period of cooperation according to specific situation. Originality/value These results indicate that ego-network stability, as an important complementary characteristic of coopetition network, has a significant synergistic effect with structural holes and centrality on competitive aggressiveness and network performance. And these findings expand the current literature on the relationship between characteristics of network, competitive aggressiveness and network performance.
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In this paper we revisit the concept of brokerage in social networks. We elaborate on the concept of brokerage as a process, identifying three distinct classes of brokerage behavior. Based on this process model, we develop a framework for measuring brokerage opportunities in dynamic relational data. Using data on emergent inter-organizational collaborations, we employ the dynamic brokerage framework to examine the relationship between organizational attributes and coordination in the evolving network. Comparing the findings of our process-based definition with traditional, static approaches, we identify important dimensions of organizational action that would be missed by the latter approach.
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gsa produces a figure for the sensitivity analysis similar to Imbens (American Economic Review, 2003). Observational studies cannot control for the bias due to the omission of unobservables. The sensitivity analysis provides a graphical benchmark about how strong assumption about unobservables researchers need to make to maintain the causal interpretation of the result. Among various sensitivity analyses, gsa often serves as the most accessible option because it minimizes the changes that researchers need to make in their models to conduct a sensitivity analysis.
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Traditional approaches have long considered situations as “noise” or “error” that obscures the consistency of personality and its invariance. Therefore, it has been customary to average the individual's behavior on any given dimension (e.g., conscientiousness) across different situations. Contradicting this assumption and practice, recent studies have demonstrated that by incorporating the situation into the search for consistency, a new locus of stability is found. Namely, people are characterized not only by stable individual differences in their overall levels of behavior, but also by distinctive and stable patterns of situation-behavior relations (e.g., she does X when A but Y when B). These if … then … profiles constitute behavioral “signatures” that provide potential windows into the individual's underlying dynamics. Processing models that can account for such signatures provide a new route for studying personality types in terms of their shared dynamics and characteristic defining profiles.
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This research note describes the use of vignettes in the author's current survey of beliefs about family obligations, and discusses the potential of the technique for eliciting survey data of a normative kind. Comparisons are made between different ways of using vignettes in British and American surveys concerned with beliefs and norms.
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This paper argues that the effect of dense social ties, or network closure, on a knowledge worker's performance depends on the predominant role this worker plays with his or her exchange partners in the relationships affected by that closure. Using data on informal exchanges among investment bankers in the equities division of a large financial services firm operating in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Americas in 2001, we find that network closure in relationships in which the banker acts as an acquirer of information increases his or her performance, whereas closure in relationships in which the banker acts as a provider of information decreases it. We also find that these effects are moderated by the bankers' ability to employ alternative means (such as formal authority) to induce the cooperation of exchange partners in their acquirer role, as well as by the extent to which the bankers can benefit from being free from the control of exchange partners in their provider role. Our findings highlight the two sides of the normative control associated with network closure: control benefits people when they need to induce exchange partners to behave according to their preferences, but it hurts them when it forces them to behave according to the preferences of those partners.
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We develop and test a theory of the origins of network structures, specifically of structural holes, building and testing a theoretical framework proposing that network structures emerge from the interplay of two complementary forces: structural constraints and network opportunities. We analyze data on a co-membership network among 501 production teams in the Italian TV production industry tracked over a period of 12 years, explicitly accounting for endogeneity. We find that structural holes spanned by teams originate from the prior status and centrality of teams that members were part of in the past, in addition to structural holes spanned in the past. But a focal team spans fewer structural holes if its members were part of cohesive teams earlier and if the past teams they were connected to produced similar artistic content. We also demonstrate that spanning structural holes is associated with superior team performance in terms of greater viewership. The results support both opportunity exploitation and structural constraint explanations, although we find that homogeneity rather than diversity influences performance across structural holes.
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This article analyzes how a broker's ability to affect prices and extract superior value from its position has economic consequences for the actors tied to it. I argue that intermediaries may exercise partial control in price setting by transferring the price constraints imposed on them by the actors on one side of the market to those on the other side. In so doing, they generate unequal returns for the brokered parties, who then receive different prices due to the nature of the tie between the broker and its other exchange partners. I investigate this argument using a novel mix of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from an intermediary in the staffing sector. The results show that the broker is able to transfer discounts offered to valued buyers (clients) on to the sellers (workers) matched with them, instead of reducing its own margins. As a result, actors with the same resource endowments receive different prices depending on the relationships among other exchange partners in a given triadic network of ties. Using qualitative fieldwork, I elaborate on the mechanisms that make the quantitative results feasible, and I discuss the implications for our understanding of the processes, dynamics, and market stratification consequences of brokerage.
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In this paper, we bring structural holes theory to different cultural contexts by studying the effect of structural holes in four high-tech companies in China and assessing whether they confer the benefits to individuals occupying the brokering position in a career network that have been found in Western contexts. On the level of national culture, we propose that the typical collectivistic culture of China will dampen the effects of structural holes. On the organizational level, we propose that in organizations that foster a high-commitment culture—a culture that emphasizes mutual investment between people—the control benefits of structural holes are dissonant with the dominant spirit of cooperation, and the information benefits of structural holes cannot materialize due to the communal-sharing values in such organizations. Empirical results of network surveys confirm our hypotheses, and interview data add depth to our explanations. Brokers do not fit with the collectivistic values of China. Further, the more an organization possesses a clan-like, high-commitment culture, the more detrimental are structural holes for employees' career achievements such as salary or bonus, even after controlling for a host of other factors that may influence these career outcomes. In high commitment organizations, the “integrators” who bring people together to fill structural holes enjoy greater career benefits.
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This research considers how different features of informal networks affect knowledge transfer. As a complement to previous research that has emphasized the dyadic tie strength component of informal networks, we focus on how network structure influences the knowledge transfer process. We propose that social cohesion around a relationship affects the willingness and motivation of individuals to invest time, energy, and effort in sharing knowledge with others. We further argue that the network range, ties to different knowledge pools, increases a person's ability to convey complex ideas to heterogeneous audiences. We also examine explanations for knowledge transfer based on absorptive capacity, which emphasizes the role of common knowledge, and relational embeddedness, which stresses the importance of tie strength. We investigate the network effect on knowledge transfer using data from a contract R&D firm. The results indicate that both social cohesion and network range ease knowledge transfer, over and above the effect for the strength of the tie between two people. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on effective knowledge transfer, social capital, and information diffusion.
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Analyzing data on utility patents from 1975 to 2002 in the careers of 35,400 collaborative inventors, this study examines the influence of brokered versus cohesive collaborative social structures on an individual's creativity. We test the hypothesis that brokerage—direct ties to collaborators who themselves do not have direct ties to each other—leads to greater collaborative creativity. We then test interaction hypotheses on the marginal benefits of cohesion, when collaborators have independent ties between themselves that do not include the individual. We identify the moderators of brokerage and argue for contingent benefits, based on the interaction of structure with the attributes, career experiences, and extended networks of individuals and their collaborators. Using a social definition of creative success, we also trace the development of creative ideas from their generation through future use by others. We test the hypothesis that brokered ideas are less likely to be used in future creative efforts. The results illustrate how collaborative brokerage can aid in the generation of an idea but then hamper its diffusion and use by others.
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I present argument and evidence for a structural ecology of social capital that describes how the value of social capital to an individual is contingent on the number of people doing the same work. The information and control benefits of bridging the structural holes - or, disconnections between nonredundant contacts in a network -that constitute social capital are especially valuable to managers with few peers. Such managers do not have the guiding frame of reference for behavior provided by numerous competitors, and the work they do does not have the legitimacy provided by numerous people doing the same kind of work. I use network and performance data on a probability sample of senior managers to show how the value of social capital, high on average for the managers, varies as a power function of the number of people doing the same work.
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This article outlines the mechanism by which brokerage provides social capital. Opinion and behavior are more homogeneous within than between groups, so people connected across groups are more familiar with alternative ways of thinking and behaving. Brokerage across the structural holes between groups provides a vision of options otherwise unseen, which is the mechanism by which brokerage becomes social capital. I review evidence consistent with the hypothesis, then look at the networks around managers in a large American electronics company. The organization is rife with structural holes, and brokerage has its expected correlates. Compensation, positive performance evaluations, promotions, and good ideas are disproportionately in the hands of people whose networks span structural holes. The between-group brokers are more likely to express ideas, less likely to have ideas dismissed, and more likely to have ideas evaluated as valuable. I close with implications for creativity and structural change.