Access, Activation, and Influence: How Brokers Mediate Social Capital Among Professional Development Providers

Richard Paquin Morel, Cynthia Ellen Coburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Professional development [PD] providers can shape how teachers understand and implement new policies. Yet we have a limited understanding of how providers develop the ideas they promote. We explore this by examining social capital among mathematics PD providers. Using social network and interview data, we identified providers in brokerage positions and analyze their interactions. We found that broker behavior varied by organizational setting. Brokers in school districts typically discussed logistical issues related to PD delivery, while brokers outside of districts often discussed substantive mathematical topics. When district brokers did access substantive information, they rarely shared it. We conclude that (1) the disconnect between accessing and sharing diminished district brokers’ ability to support PD in their districts and (2) the lack of substance diminished their ability to influence ideas about mathematics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-288
Number of pages42
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019



  • in-depth interviewing
  • organizational theory
  • professional development
  • social capital
  • social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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