Working the interface: brokerage and learning networks

Kubiak, Chris (2009). Working the interface: brokerage and learning networks. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 37(2) pp. 239–256.



The establishment of school-based learning networks is one of the more significant recent changes in the way that professional learning and organisational change have been conceptualised. This article argues that network development requires facilitation and conceptualises this work as brokerage, a concept highlighting the tensions of working as an ‘inside-outsider’. Using interviews, observations of meetings, document analysis and case studies, an understanding of the practices of a group of National College of School Leadership network facilitators employed to support network development was developed. Facilitators saw themselves as facilitating the learning of network members and fostering accountability. Positioned at the boundary of the network, connected to many other groups, the success of their attempts to access and establish a legitimate role in their networks varied from group to group. As such, some Facilitators experienced their work as disorienting. ‘Communities of brokerage practice’ served as buffer zones between networks and their employing organisation - a space to not only reflect upon and build an understanding of brokerage work but to evolve and develop the practice itself. Recommendations for organisations supporting a similar role are made.

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