Brokering Orientations and Social Capital: Influencing Others’ Relationships Shapes Status and Trust

Brokering Orientations and Social Capital: Influencing Others’ Relationships Shapes Status and Trust

By
Nir Halevy, Eliran Halali, Taya R. Cohen
Journal of Personality & Social Psychology. August
2020, Vol. 119, Issue 2, Pages 293–316

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.