The analysis elaborates and illustrates a proposition on brokerage that is implicit in existing research—that through self-assembling their ties, brokers may trigger chains of events with systemic consequences that they can only partly control or benefit from. By relaxing the assumption of strategic control, the analysis contributes to reducing the discrepancy between micro and macro levels of analysis. This approach is illustrated with the case of the Ballets Russes (1909–1929) and its founder Sergei Diaghilev, who revolutionized the arts in the early 20th century by aggregating developments in dance, music, design and literature. The role of a catalyst emerges in connecting artists on the supply side and in matching supply and demand for novelty. Catalysis was triggered by the interaction between identity and field-level fragmentation when the personal network of an unusually multifaceted broker became a platform for the interpenetration of heretofore disconnected social networks. However, in escalating Modernism Diaghilev’s brokerage contributed to the demise of the social world that generated the Ballets Russes. Link to the article
SGOUREV, S. (2015). Brokerage as Catalysis: How Diaghilev's Ballets Russes Escalated Modernism. Organization Studies, 36(3), pp. 343-361.