Organization Design

Posted: 15 Apr 2005

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


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

Suggested Citation

Harris, Milton and Raviv, Artur, Organization Design. Management Science, Vol. 48, pp. 852-865, July 2002. Available at SSRN:

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)


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)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics