Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Uncertainty, Task Environment, and Organization Design: An Empirical Investigation

Contents:

Author Info

  • Avner Ben-Ner

    (Industrial Relations Center, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota)

  • Fanmin Kong

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University)

  • Stéphanie Lluis

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

Abstract

The paper addresses two broad research questions: 1. How do internal uncertainty associated with the task environment and external uncertainty arising from market volatility impact organization design? 2. What are the relationships among various elements of organization design: delegation of decision-making, incentives, monitoring, and internal labor market practices (promotion, training, employment security)? We expand on Prendergast (2002a), who challenged the conventional view of a tradeoff between risk and incentives, and build a single unified framework for answering our two research questions. Using a uniquely rich dataset that contains detailed information about the task environment of core employees and organization design at the individual, group and firms levels in 530 Minnesota firms in the mid 1990s, we first find support for Prendergast's key argument that internal uncertainty (over which employees have control) affects directly the allocation of decision-making and only indirectly incentives (via allocation of decision-making). This confirms similar findings by Foss and Laursen (2005), DeVaro and Kurtulus (2010) and Shi (2011). We also find that internal uncertainty has much impact on organization design through the choice of delegation of decision-making at the employee level, less so at the group level, and very little at the firm level, whereas external (market) uncertainty has little effect on organization design, especially at the individual and group level. Decision-making, monitoring, various internal labor market practices and incentives are strongly related to each other through substitution and complementarity.

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: http://economics.uwaterloo.ca/documents/11-005SL.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waterloo, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1105.

as in new window
Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision: Dec 2011
Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1105

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 33695
Fax: (519) 725-0530
Web page: http://economics.uwaterloo.ca/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  2. Ben-Ner Avner & Montias John Michael & Neuberger Egon, 1993. "Basic Issues in Organizations: A Comparative Perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 207-242, June.
  3. Wilde, Joachim, 2000. "Identification of multiple equation probit models with endogenous dummy regressors," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 309-312, December.
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
  5. Nicolai J. Foss & Keld Laursen, 2002. "Performance Pay, Delegation, and Multitasking under Uncertainty and Innovativeness An Empirical Investigation," DRUID Working Papers 02-14, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  6. Paul Osterman, 2000. "Work reorganization in an era of restructuring: Trends in diffusion and effects on employee welfare," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 179-196, January.
  7. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  8. Shi, Lan, 2011. "Respondable risk and incentives for CEOs: The role of information-collection and decision-making," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 189-205, February.
  9. Rebitzer, James B., 1995. "Is there a trade-off between supervision and wages? An empirical test of efficiency wage theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 107-129, September.
  10. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
  11. Daniel Nagin & James Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
  13. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How common is workplace transformation and who adopts it?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
  14. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Keld Laursen & Nicolai J. Foss, 2003. "New human resource management practices, complementarities and the impact on innovation performance," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 243-263, March.
  16. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  17. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  18. Ennen, Edgar & Richter, Ansgar, 2009. "The Whole Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts - Or Is It? A Review of the Empirical Literature on Complementarities in Organizations," MPRA Paper 15666, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  20. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:177-242 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Cindy Zoghi & Alec Levenson & Michael Gibbs, 2005. "Why Are Jobs Designed the Way They Are?," Working Papers 382, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  22. Zabojnik, Jan, 1996. "Pay-performance sensitivity and production uncertainty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 291-296, December.
  23. Jed DeVaro & Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2010. "An An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and the Delegation of Worker Authority," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 641-661, July.
  24. Marie-Claire Villeval & David Dickinson, 2004. "Does Monitoring Decrease Work Effort ? The Complementarity Between Agency and Crowding-Out Theories," Working Papers 0409, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  25. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  26. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1999. "Multi-Task Learning and the Reorganization of Work. From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," IZA Discussion Papers 39, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Rantakari Heikki V, 2008. "On the Role of Uncertainty in the Risk-Incentives Tradeoff," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, April.
  28. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
  29. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Michael Raith, 2008. "Specific knowledge and performance measurement," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1059-1079.
  31. Grandori, Anna, 1991. "Negotiating efficient organization forms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 319-340, December.
  32. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2003. "Multivariate probit regression using simulated maximum likelihood," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 10, Stata Users Group.
  33. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1995. "Complementarities and fit strategy, structure, and organizational change in manufacturing," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 179-208, April.
  34. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret E. Slade, 1998. "Incentive Contracting and the Franchise Decision," NBER Working Papers 6544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. John MacDuffie, 1995. "Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organizational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(2), pages 197-221, January.
  36. Carmichael, H Lorne & MacLeod, W Bentley, 2000. "Worker Cooperation and the Ratchet Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-19, January.
  37. Avner Ben-Ner & Stephanie Lluis, . "Learning: What and How? An Empirical Study of Adjustments in Workplace Organization Structure," Working Papers 0407, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
  38. Eisenberg Daniel & Rowe Brian, 2009. "The Effect of Smoking in Young Adulthood on Smoking Later in Life: Evidence based on the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-34, June.
  39. Neal, Derek, 1993. "Supervision and Wages across Industries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 409-17, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

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

Cited by:
  1. Ben-Ner, Avner, 2013. "Preferences and organization structure: Toward behavioral economics micro-foundations of organizational analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 87-96.
  2. Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.

Lists

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

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1105. 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: (Pat Gruber).

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.