The role of a government intermediary (diplomatic broker) in developing a network of relationships between Ireland and Newfoundland, Canada

Authors: O'Toole, Thomas J.; Bowe, Leanne

Source: Journal of Customer Behaviour, Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2012 , pp. 129-144(16)

Publisher: Westburn Publishers Ltd

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This paper reports on the network brokering role of the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership (INP). The INP was set up to develop relationships between Ireland and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. The INP represents a new type of broker and we set out to examine the function and role of such a broker. The broker role is labelled as a diplomatic one as the INP is limited to a social intermediary role with persuasive power only with the added weight of its location in government which gives it additional authenticity. The findings combine data from 73 respondents of an email survey and nine in-depth interviews of key actors in the Ireland-Newfoundland relationship. The findings confirm the impact and benefits/outcomes of such an intermediary. Using a range of qualitative and quantitative measures, the INP was perceived to be central in the relationships brokered and was found to have added to the depth and density of ties between the two regions. Its benefit as an intermediary and the benefits of the projects, combined with the outcomes of the interaction, also confirmed the function and role of this type of intermediary. Although the study reports on relationships brokered during a 10 year period, many are still at an early stage. The question remains as to whether the INP can translate its ability to broker initial contact into systemic self-sustaining inter-regional networks in the future.
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