Coordinating Tasks in M-Form and U-Form Organisations

40 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2008

See all articles by Yingyi Qian

Yingyi Qian

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gérard Roland

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Chenggang Xu

University of Hong Kong

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

We model the coordination of specialised tasks inside an organisation as "attribute matching". Using this method, we compare the performance of organisational forms (M-form and U-form) in implementing changes such as innovation and reform. In our framework, organisational forms affect the information structure of an organisation and thus the way to coordinate changes. Compared to the U-form, the M-form organisation achieves better coordination but suffers from fewer economies of scale. The distinctive advantage of the M-form is flexibility of experimentation, which allows the organisation to introduce more innovation and reform. The theory is illustrated by the organisational differences between China and the former Soviet Union and sheds light on their different reform strategies, particularly with regard to the prevalence of the experimental approach in China.

JEL Classification: D20, D80, H11, H70, L22, P11

Suggested Citation

Qian, Yingyi and Roland, Gérard and Xu, Chenggang, Coordinating Tasks in M-Form and U-Form Organisations (June 2003). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. TE458, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1160994

Yingyi Qian (Contact Author)

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Beijing, 100084
China

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Gérard Roland

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-4321 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Chenggang Xu

University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK
China

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