Nexus Work: Brokerage on Creative Projects

65 Pages Posted: 27 May 2009

See all articles by Elizabeth Long Lingo

Elizabeth Long Lingo

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Siobhan Clare O'Mahony

Boston University School of Management

Date Written: May 19, 2009


One body of research treats brokers as strategic arbitrageurs extracting advantage from their position, while another body of research paints brokers as relational experts connecting others to foster creativity and innovation. Because both conceptions are static, they fail to capture how brokerage evolves throughout the creative process. With an ethnographic study of music producers, we find that creative brokerage involves blending both approaches depending on the type of ambiguity involved. Producers leveraged their brokerage role not just for individual gain but to integrate project contributors’ ideas while maintaining project support. In doing so, they moved between these two ideal conceptions of brokerage and broke from them - to foster a collective creative outcome.

Suggested Citation

Long Lingo, Elizabeth and O'Mahony, Siobhan Clare, Nexus Work: Brokerage on Creative Projects (May 19, 2009). UC Davis Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 14-09, Available at SSRN: or

Elizabeth Long Lingo (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Siobhan Clare O'Mahony

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

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