A measure of brokerage as a temporal process

Eric Quintane, John Dunn, Lucia Falzon, Martin Wood

Contact: martinwilliamwood@gmail.com

Extant research has provided critical insights into our understanding of the benefits of occupying a brokerage position. Moving beyond the position of the broker, recent research has measured the brokerage processes (arbitration and collaboration) that brokers engage in and their implications for performance. However, measurement of the brokerage process relies on scales that focus on the preferred behavioral orientation of individuals and not on their actual behavior. Sequences of relational events based on time-stamped electronic interactions (e.g., emails, phone calls) offer a unique opportunity to measure brokerage as a behavioral process. We propose a measure of brokerage that captures the process (arbitraging or collaborating) that brokers engage in by incorporating the time and sequence of relational events into one measure. We demonstrate the usefulness of our measure by exploring the performance consequences of brokerage processes using a dataset of email exchanges of all employees in an IT consulting organization in Australia. Consistent with the extant literature, we show that employees who engage in an arbitration brokerage process have higher performance evaluations. We also find that brokers (measured using static constraint) do not gain additional performance benefits when engaging in an arbitration process compared to performance benefits associated with their position.

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