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A new series of papers have argued to expand the definition past the strict structural usage of Gould and Fernandez (1989). Specifically, they argue this strict structural definition engenders a trade-off between brokerage and closure that might not be necessary for the theoretical concept nor evidenced in practice. In other words, actors might broker at the same time as other activities.
In this paper, we examine this strict structural definition and show that, for a given set of actors but two very different types of ties, collaboration and information exchange, the trade-off between brokerage and closure is clearly evident in collaboration but completely lacking in information exchange. Thus, in a sense, both sets of scholars are correct; in some cases there is a clear trade-off and others not. Understanding these differences will push our understanding of the nature of brokerage forward.
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