Brokerage and Brokering: An Integrative Review and Organizing Framework for Third Party Influence

Brokerage and Brokering: An Integrative Review and Organizing Framework for Third Party Influence

By
Nir Halevy, Eliran Halali, Julian J. Zlatev
Academy of Management Annals (in-press). October
15, 2018

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.