Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Flat Hierarchical Structure, Bundles of New Work Practices and Firm Performance


Author Info

  • Cristini Annalisa
  • Gaj Alessandro
  • Labory Sandrine
  • Leoni Riccardo


In the last decade a growing economic literature has been devoted to the relationship between firm organisation and performance. Empirical analyses mainly focus on the relationship between human resources management and firm performance, neglecting the role played by organisational designs. The aim of this paper is to integrate the analysis of this relationship and verify the extent to which it is relevant for Italian firms. The data set, for a sample of manufacturing firms located in Lombardy, is composed of a cross-section survey information on workplace organisation and a balance sheet panel. We confirm the major results of studies carried out in other countries, namely: practices appear in clusters, have positive effects on productivity and are favoured by high skills. Moreover we find that a flat hierarchical structure is a condition "sine qua non" for some practices to be implemented and become productive; however, practices like the degree of autonomy of the team, consultation, information sharing, selective hiring and cognitive training are productive only if the horizontal structure is accompanied by good industrial relations. The latter appears to be one of the complementary conditions for radical reorganisation leading to a flat structure and a consequent empowerment of human resources. The road of internal firm flexibility appears to be a strong source of productivity, able to fully exploit the potential of new, more complex and versatile equipments based on investments in advanced manufacturing and in the so-called "general purpose technologies". Policy implications in terms of diffusion of workplaces re-engineering are derived and discussed.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Società editrice il Mulino in its journal Rivista italiana degli economisti.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 313

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/11474:y:2003:i:2:p:313

Contact details of provider:

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Annalisa Cristini & Dario Pozzoli, 2010. "Workplace practices and firm performance in manufacturing: A comparative study of Italy and Britain," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(7), pages 818-842, November.
  2. Cristini, Annalisa & Pozzoli, Dario, 2008. "New Workplace Practices and Firm Performance: A Comparative Study of Italy and Britain," Working Papers 08-9, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  3. Casadio Piero, 2010. "Firm level wage bargaining and territorial wage differentials: evidence from the Bank of Italy survey on firms," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 241-292.
  4. Annalisa Cristini & Tor Eriksson & Dario Pozzoli, 2013. "High-Performance Management Practices and Employee Outcomes in Denmark," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 60(3), pages 232-266, 07.
  5. Piero, Casadio, 2010. "Contrattazione aziendale integrativa e differenziali salariali territoriali: informazioni dall'indagine sulle imprese della Banca d'Italia," MPRA Paper 29384, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Adel Ben Youssef & David Castillo Merino & Walid Hadhri, 2012. "Determinants of Intra-firm Diffusion Process of ICT: Theoretical Sources and Empirical Evidence from Catalan Firms," Post-Print halshs-00937176, HAL.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/11474:y:2003:i:2:p:313. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.