Perturbations, Organizational Structure, and the Measurement Problem

26 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2005

See all articles by William Lawless

William Lawless

Paine College

Margo Bergman

Pennsylvania State University Worthington Scranton

Nick Feltovich

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 7, 2004

Abstract

After an overview of theory for organizations based on data derived from individual members, we review the problem created by this traditional "methodological individualism" perspective and offer an alternative theory based on the mathematical physics of interdependent uncertainty for both individuals and organizations. Then a case study of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its Citizen Advisory Boards ("Boards") is presented as the first application of mathematical physics to competitive heterogeneity among organizations. In contrast to the expectations of the classical perspective, but in line with our alternative theory of performance, we conclude that consensus-seeking dampens the environmental cleanup of contaminated DOE sites around the USA, while dissonance from the competition of ideas driven by truth-seeking accelerates the cleanup, improves trust, and better educates Americans in the complexities of a technical subject like radioactive waste management by dynamically aligning risk perceptions with scientifically determined risks.

Keywords: Interdependence, uncertainty, perturbations, measurement

JEL Classification: C63, D20, D74, D81, Q20

Suggested Citation

Lawless, William and Bergman, Margo and Feltovich, Nicholas J., Perturbations, Organizational Structure, and the Measurement Problem (November 7, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=793605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.793605

William Lawless (Contact Author)

Paine College ( email )

1235 Fifteenth Street
Augusta, GA 30901
United States
706-821-8284 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://homepage.mac.com/lawlessw

Margo Bergman

Pennsylvania State University Worthington Scranton ( email )

120 Ridge View Drive
Dunmore, PA 18512
United States

Nicholas J. Feltovich

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States

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