Object Salience in the Division of Labor: Experimental Evidence

Management Science, Forthcoming

49 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012 Last revised: 10 Apr 2015

See all articles by Marlo Raveendran

Marlo Raveendran

University of California, Riverside

Phanish Puranam

INSEAD

Massimo Warglien

University of Venice - Department of Business Economics & Management

Date Written: March 25, 2015

Abstract

When we engage in the process of division of labor, there are typically multiple alternatives, but insufficient knowledge to choose among them. Under such conditions, we propose that not all alternatives are equally likely to be pursued. In particular, when we engage in the process of division of labor for novel and non-repetitive production, we argue that we display a tendency to perceive and select object- based task partitions over activity-based partitions. We experimentally investigate how the salience of objects over activities manifests itself in individuals and groups engaged in division of labor for the assembly of strongly or weakly decomposable products. We draw implications for organization design as well as the impact of technological change on organizations.

Keywords: Organization Design, Division of Labor, Decomposability, Experiments

Suggested Citation

Raveendran, Marlo and Puranam, Phanish and Warglien, Massimo, Object Salience in the Division of Labor: Experimental Evidence (March 25, 2015). Management Science, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2121659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2121659

Marlo Raveendran (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside ( email )

United States

Phanish Puranam

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, 138676
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/profiles/ppuranam/

Massimo Warglien

University of Venice - Department of Business Economics & Management ( email )

Dorsoduro 3246
Venezia VE 30121, Veneto 30123
Italy

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