The ability of employees to identify, evaluate, and exploit novel ideas is an important source of innovation and competitive success. Drawing upon social network theory and the complementary fit perspective on brokerage, this study shows that network brokerage (connecting otherwise unconnected colleagues) is a necessary but not sufficient condition for reaching high levels of innovative performance. Results from a social network analysis of a professional services firm show that closed workplace social networks serve as straitjackets that limit the discovery and pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities. The absence of brokerage, therefore, guarantees the absence of high levels of innovative performance. Our results show that employees in closed networks can only partly—not fully—compensate for the absence of brokerage.
Co-authors: Lotte Glaser, Justin Jansen, and Jan Dul.
The presentation is part of Session 1781: Innovation and the Role of Diversity, Inclusion and Networks. The session consists of the following four presentations:
Try, Try, Try Again? Persistence and the Gender Innovation Gap by Gauri Subramani, Abhay Aneja, and Oren Reshef (University of California, Berkeley)
When Strong Ties Benefit Innovation: The Effects of Attenuated Gender Role Bias by Jieun Lee and Joel Andrus (University of Missouri)
What Drives Inclusive Innovations? The Importance of Innovators’ Backgrounds by Josh Feng, (University of Utah), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), and Elias Einio (VATT Institute for Economic Research)
Is High Innovative Performance without Brokerage Possible? A Necessary Condition Analysis by Stefan Breet, Lotte Glaser, Jan Dul, and Justin Jansen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)