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Coordinating Changes in M-Form and U-Form Organizations

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  • Gerard Roland

    (ECARE)

  • Chenggang Xu

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

We model the coordination of specialized tasks inside an organization as "attribute matching." Using this method, we compare organizational forms (U-form and M-form) in coordinating changes. 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 but suffers from higher costs due to a lack of scale economies or a lack of what we call "attribute compatibility." The distinctive advantage of the M-form is experimentation, which gives the organization more flexibility leading to more innovation and reform. Our theory applies to business firms, transition economies, and the organization of government. For transition economies, our theory relates the initial conditions of organizational differences with reform strategies, especially the "big-bang" approach in Eastern Europe and the "experimental" approach in China.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 0780.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:0780

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  1. Jacques Cremer, 1980. "A Partial Theory of the Optimal Organization of a Bureaucracy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 683-693, Autumn.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  4. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1995. "The design of reform packages under uncertainty," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9607, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Gerard Roland & Thierry Verdier, 1997. "Transition and the Output Fall," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 37, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Aoki, Masahiko, 1986. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 971-83, December.
  7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1137-60, November.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1995. "Some implications of growth for organizational form and ownership structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 440-455, April.
  9. Richard E. Ericson, 1991. "The Classical Soviet-Type Economy: Nature of the System and Implications for Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 11-27, Fall.
  10. Blanchard, O & Kremer, M, 1996. "Disorganization," Working papers 96-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Eric Maskin & Yingyi Qian & Chenggang Xu, 1999. "Incentives, Information, and Organizational Form," Working Papers 99009, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  13. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  14. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 2000. "Understanding china's economic performance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-50.
  15. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 997-99, September.
  16. Bolton, Patrick & Farrell, Joseph, 1990. "Decentralization, Duplication, and Delay," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 803-26, August.
  17. Argyres, Nicholas S., 1995. "Technology strategy, governance structure and interdivisional coordination," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 337-358, December.
  18. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  19. McMillan, John & Naughton, Barry, 1992. "How to Reform a Planned Economy: Lessons from China," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 130-43, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric Maskin & Yingyi Qian & Chenggang Xu, 1997. "Incentives, Information, and Organizational Form," Working Papers 97034, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Yingyi Qian, 1999. "The Institutional Foundations of China's Market Transition," Working Papers 99011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.

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