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Deconstructing brokerage and innovation: a structural topology of bridging throughout the idea journey - 23 May 2022

Associate Professor Stefano Tasselli from Rotterdam School of Management presented research on how network brokerage shapes innovation in the health care sector.

Paper title and abstract:

Deconstructing Brokerage and Innovation: A Structural Topology of Bridging throughout the Idea Journey.

Prior research has yielded inconclusive findings on how network brokerage shapes innovation. While various contingencies have been proposed, the broker’s ambient social organization has rarely received attention. We develop a structural topology to explain how the broker is surrounded by multiple bridging layers within formal and informal organizational space, including boundary spanning across formal subunits, and dyadic versus Simmelian brokerage (i.e., brokering individuals versus cliques). The stratification and integration of these bridging layers generate distinct structural configurations that facilitate or impede each phase of the idea journey. Our findings reveal that the broker’s position delineated by formal and informal group membership shapes the innovation process. Specifically, dyadic brokerage facilitates idea generation when the broker bridges formal subunits and facilitates idea championing when the broker concentrates on the focal subunit. Conversely, Simmelian brokerage hampers idea elaboration when the broker bridges social cliques involving different subunits, and hampers idea implementation when the broker bridges multiple cliques within the focal subunit. We find clear evidence at a medical clinic where health care professionals innovate new medical service. This paper advances research on the interplay of formal and informal organizing throughout corporate innovation processes, offering novel theoretical and practical insights.

About Stefano Tasselli:

Stefano Tasselli is an Associate Professor at the Rotterdam School of Management, where he is the Academic Director of the Master in Innovation Management. He is also a Distinguished Research Professor at the Social Network Research Centre of the University of Exeter. His research focus is on the interplay between psychological and relational antecedents of organizational functioning, including the analysis of the micro-foundations of innovation in social networks. He has been selected by Poets and Quants as one of the '40 World's Best Business Professors under 40,' and by ASFOR as the 'Best Italian Business Professor under 40.' He is a member of the Editorial Review Boards of the Academy of Management Journal and of the Journal of Management Studies. 

This seminar represented an integrative and important part of the House of Innovation's strategy to build a research environment through engagement with prominent guests and their work.

This seminar was a part of the Academic Seminar Series offered in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship.

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