Organization Design

Milton Harris

University of Chicago - Finance

Artur Raviv

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Management Science, Vol. 48, pp. 852-865, July 2002

This paper attempts to explain organization structure based on optimal coordination of interactions among activities. The main idea is that each manager is capable of detecting and coordinating interactions only within his limited area of expertise. Only the CEO can coordinate company-wide interactions. The optimal design of the organization trades off the costs and benefits of various configurations of managers. Our results consist of classifying the characteristics of activities and managerial costs that lead to the matrix organization, the functional hierarchy, the divisional hierarchy, or a flat hierarchy. We also investigate the effect of changing the fixed and variable costs of managers on the nature of the optimal organization, including the extent of centralization.

Keywords: Hierarchies, M-Form, U-Form

JEL Classification: D2, G3, L2

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Date posted: April 15, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Harris, Milton and Raviv, Artur, Organization Design. Management Science, Vol. 48, pp. 852-865, July 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=690782

Contact Information

Milton Harris (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Finance ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
(773) 702-2549 (Phone)
(773) 753-8310 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/milton.harris/

Chicago Booth School of Business Logo

Artur Raviv
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-8342 (Phone)
847-491-5719 (Fax)
Feedback to SSRN

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