DEFINITION of Power Broker

A power broker is an individual who, through his or her connections, is able to influence the decisions of other parties. A power broker is typically an industry insider, and is familiar with other individuals and groups able to exert influence or make decisions. Power brokers may be elected officials, business leaders or individuals who are "connected."


Because of the influence power brokers have on an organization's decision makers, they are able to command high fees and the attention of individuals, organizations, and companies looking to make headway with a particular project or goal. For example, industry lobbyists and media personnel familiar with the ins and outs of a particular issue are able to reach and influence decision makers faster than those who are unfamiliar with key players.

How a Power Broker Operates

A power broker may or may not be directly involved in the operation and development of the sphere of influence where their connections exist. For example, an industry power broker might be a consultant, an attorney, or other ancillary participant in that sector. While they might not function as the CEO or other senior executive within a company that is a mainstay of the industry, their presence and influence can affect such the companies within the industry.

A power broker could be involved in arranging the sale or exchange of assets between prominent parties in an industry. In the sports world, this could mean an agent who arranges a lucrative trade of players between teams. This might also include arranging deals to relocate teams from one city to another, usually with the promise of some incentive or benefit to the team that moves.

Power Brokers and the Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry is noted for its power brokers, who may arrange contracts that bring prominent directors, screenwriters, and performers together for projects that are expected to generate substantial box office returns. A power broker might also arrange licensing and rights deals to allow a studio to develop projects based on popular media properties.

Power brokers might also wield control over career and business prospects within their sphere of influence as they might promote or discourage collaboration with or elevation of an individual or organization. The effective sway that power brokers hold can lead to individuals and organizations pursuing the favored interestĀ of these influencers in order to advance a project or idea that requires support from within a market, industry, or populace that defers to their disposition.