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Timing Decisions in Organizations: Communication and Authority in a Dynamic Environment

85 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2014 Last revised: 1 Sep 2016

Steven R. Grenadier

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Andrey Malenko

MIT Sloan School of Management

Nadya Malenko

Boston College - Carroll School of Management

Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

We consider a problem where an uninformed principal makes a timing decision interacting with an informed but biased agent. Because time is irreversible, the direction of the bias crucially affects the agent's ability to credibly communicate information. When the agent favors late decision-making, full information revelation often occurs. In this case, centralized decision-making, where the principal retains authority and communicates with the agent, implements the optimal decision-making rule. When the agent favors early decision-making, communication is partial, and the optimal decision-making rule is not implemented. Delegation adds value when the bias is for early decision-making, but not for late decision-making.

Keywords: organizational economics, real options, delegation, communication, cheap talk, allocation of authority, timing decisions

JEL Classification: D23, D82, D83, G31, L22

Suggested Citation

Grenadier, Steven R. and Malenko, Andrey and Malenko, Nadya, Timing Decisions in Organizations: Communication and Authority in a Dynamic Environment (September 2016). American Economic Review, Vol. 106, No. 9, September 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2523719 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2523719

Steven R. Grenadier

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Graduate School of Business
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-725-0706 (Phone)
650-725-6152 (Fax)

Andrey Malenko (Contact Author)

MIT Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-619
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-225-9301 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.mit.edu/~amalenko

Nadya Malenko

Boston College - Carroll School of Management ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www2.bc.edu/nadya-malenko/

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