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Social Choice in Organizations

14 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2011 Last revised: 9 Oct 2011

Wynn Stirling

Brigham Young University

Teppo Felin

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: September 13, 2011


This paper models organizational strategy as a social choice. We model how individual preferences for a course of action are aggregated toward an organizational choice and strategy. To accomplish this aggregation we specifically highlight the role of conditional (rather than categorical) preferences. We emphasize the role that two factors play in the aggregation of conditional preferences in organizations: (i) acyclical influence (for example, via organizational hierarchy) and (ii) social coherence. We also model the role of 'coordinatability' and mutual information in the context of aggregating heterogeneous preferences in organizations. Our effort is also to contribute to a more contextualized view of social choice by modeling it, in amended form, within the context of organizations.

Keywords: organization theory, strategy as social choice, preference aggregation

JEL Classification: D71, L1, L2

Suggested Citation

Stirling, Wynn and Felin, Teppo, Social Choice in Organizations (September 13, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Wynn Stirling

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

Teppo Felin (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain


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