2 Matching Annotations
- Dec 2017
Terms such as brokers, boundary spanners, boundary crossers, and boundary workers are often used to denote them. Whereas the latter two terms are typically used to refer to people’s actual efforts and success in crossing boundaries (i.e., establishing continuity in action and interaction) between groups, the terms broker and boundary spanner typically, especially in social network theory, refer to a structural position in a network, where a person is found to be a more or less unique link between otherwise separate or disparate groups. Nevertheless, the common assumption in social network theory is that, precisely because of being in this structural position and creating what Granovetter (1973 Granovetter, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360–1380. doi:10.1086/225469[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]) called the “weak ties,” brokers or boundary spanners have a powerful position (Aldrich & Herker, 1977 Aldrich, H., & Herker, D. (1977). Boundary spanning roles and organization structure. Academy of Management Review, 2(2), 217–230.[Crossref], [Google Scholar]; Burt, 2000 Burt, R. S. (2000). The network structure of social capital. Research in Organizational Behavior, 22, 345–423.[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]; Lin, 2001 Lin, N. (2001). Social capital: A theory of social structure and action. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.[Crossref], [Google Scholar]; Tuschman & Scalan, 1981); from this powerful position they can either use information to retain positional authority and their status as a link between two or more groups or use it to join people together for mutual benefit (Obstfeld, 2005 Obstfeld, D. (2005). Social networks, the tertius iungens orientation, and involvement in innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50(1), 100–130.[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]).
Related articles on brokers
As we elaborate in the next section on the intrapersonal level of boundary crossing, people who are in this situation can be referred to as brokers and typically have a powerful but challenging multifaceted position that is psychologically quite demanding.
Definition of brokers