“Brokers in Turbulent Economies: Trust in Flux”
Abstract: This paper will serve as an introduction to my latest project (Project BiTE), which builds on my work on network intermediaries (Buchnea, 2020). This project examines network brokers operating in locations in periods of flux, such as newly independent nations, conflict zones or countries with new or relatively ‘young’ governments and institutions. Focusing on both the role and activities of the brokers, it will apply network and broker theory to obtain insights into how knowledge and influence (reputation) flow through networks and the power of such individuals in given locations in shaping firm-level decisions and also corporate political activity. The aim is to explore network brokers which took the position of ‘agent’ in merchant banks and commission merchant firms. The focus will be on agents of the Rothschild firm (Mexico and Brazil), Baring firm (Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Louisiana), Brown Brothers & Co. (several US agents), and Jardine, Matheson & Co. (Asia). As I build the research network for this project, there is an opportunity to expand in terms of firms networks and spatial scope but this will be dependent on the project team. This research emphasises longitudinal perspectives on strategic networks and brokerage, answering calls by Kwon et al. (2020) for a greater understanding of broker dynamism through temporal approaches. Also under examination will be the role of context in conditions in shaping network action.
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