University of Chicago - Finance
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
Date posted: April 15, 2005