Coupled Search Processes: Why is it so Difficult to Find that Organizational Design Matters?

48 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2007

See all articles by Nicolaj Siggelkow

Nicolaj Siggelkow

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Jan W. Rivkin

Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Organizational design affects performance via coupled search processes. At low frequency, managers search for appropriate organizational designs. At higher frequency, managers use designs to search for high-performing operational choices. The two searches are coupled: organizational design molds the choice among operational alternatives, and performance feedback from operational choices shapes design. Our simulation model shows how coupled search processes can dramatically obscure the true impact of design on performance, confounding empirical research. We identify research strategies for tackling this difficulty; discuss population-level advantages of coupled search processes; and highlight implications for analogous coupled search processes that shape networks, cognition, and capabilities.

Suggested Citation

Siggelkow, Nicolaj and Rivkin, Jan, Coupled Search Processes: Why is it so Difficult to Find that Organizational Design Matters? (July 2007). Strategy Unit Working Paper No. 07-106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1001704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1001704

Nicolaj Siggelkow (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States
215-573-7137 (Phone)
215-898-0401 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-management.wharton.upenn.edu/siggelkow/

Jan Rivkin

Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit ( email )

Harvard Business School
Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-6690 (Phone)
617-495-0355 (Fax)

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