Perturbations, Organizational Structure, and the Measurement Problem
26 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2005
Date Written: November 7, 2004
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: Suggested Citation