Coordination and Experimentation in M-Form and U-Form Organizations

Posted: 17 May 2006

See all articles by Yingyi Qian

Yingyi Qian

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gérard Roland

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Chenggang Xu

University of Hong Kong

Abstract

We compare the performance of organizational forms (M-form and U-form) in experimenting with uncertain projects. In our framework, organizational forms affect the information structure of an organization and thus the way to coordinate changes. Compared to the U-form, the M-form organization achieves better coordination in "attribute matching" but suffers from coordination in "attribute compatibility" and less gains in specialization. The distinctive advantage of the M-form is its flexibility in choosing between small-scale and full-scale experimentation.

Suggested Citation

Qian, Yingyi and Roland, Gérard and Xu, Chenggang, Coordination and Experimentation in M-Form and U-Form Organizations. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 114, pp. 366-402, April 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=901850

Yingyi Qian (Contact Author)

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Beijing, 100084
China

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Gérard Roland

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-4321 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Chenggang Xu

University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK
China

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