Rick and Steve,

It seems to me that the importance of roles in innovation has as much to do
with context as it does with structure generally speaking. Perhaps roles in
Open Source communities are different than roles in R&D labs or academic
environments. In examining roles, it might be worthwhile to incorporate
contextual factors. If anyone has ideas on approaches to considering "roles
in context" I would be interested in dialoguing.

Here are the citations you requested Steve. Rick, if you have not already,
you might be interested in the Hargadon and Sutton work - a qualitative
look at brokerage in the context of product development innovation.



Gould, Roger V. and Roberto M. Fernandez. 1989. "Structures of Mediation: A
Formal Approach to Brokerage in Transaction Networks." Sociological
Methodology, Vol. 19., pp. 89-126.

Fernandez, R. M. Structural bases of leadership in intraorganizational
networks. Social Psychology Quarterly, 1991, 54, 36-53.

Fernandez, Roberto M. and Roger V. Gould. 1994. "A Dilemma of State Power:
Brokerage and Influence in the National Health Policy Domain." American
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 99, No. 6., pp. 1455-1491.

Hargadon, A and Sutton, R (1997) Technology Brokering and Innovation in a
Product Development Firm, Administrative Science Quarterly, (42), p. 716-749.

At 10:34 AM 9/26/03 -0400, Steve Levin wrote:
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>How can I obtain a copy of Fernandez and Gould's original work on
>brokerage roles?
>Steve Levin
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Aalbers.Rick [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>Sent: Friday, September 26, 2003 8:27 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: brokerage roles
>*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
> >       Dear SOCNET people,
> >
> >       Looking at the brokerage theory, I noticed that most of the time
> > the importance of brokerage is highlighted as being essential for
> > organization wide innovation. However, the importance of the different
> > kind of brokerage roles (gatekeeper, liaison, coordinator -as def. by
> > fernandez and gould) seems to be neglected in the literature.
> >
> >       Q1): does anyone know any articles that deal specifically with
> > this topic; the importance of the various brokerage roles from an
> > innovation and knowledge sharing point of view?
> >
> >       Q2): Is there  literature on  the combination of these roles to
> > achieve effective knwoledge sharing as basis for innovation?
> >
> >       I would like to argue that gatekeepers are not as effective as
> > liaisons for increasing the innovative output of the organization.
> > Main reason is that the role of eg. gatekeepers implies a main
> > interest ino only increasing the innovation level of their affiliated
> > division.  Truly independent brokers, like liaisons are more useful
> > for inproving the organization wide level of innovation.Reason is for
> > instance that they have more flexibility in choosing the problems to
> > work on and the solutions to draw from, and  thereby  increasing the
>set of possible
> >       innovative combinations they can pursue.
> >
> >
> >       Please let me know. I appreciate your help a lot.
> >
> >       Kind regards,
> >
> >       Rick Aalbers
> >
> >
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Sinan Aral                                     [log in to unmask]

         IT Group - MIT Sloan School of Management
           Center for Information Systems Research