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Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm

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  • Aoki, Masahiko

Abstract

This paper compares the efficiency of two information structures of the firm in coordinating operational decisions among technologically-interrelated constituent units (shops) whose costs are uncertain. The structures compared are a hierarchical one in which the capability of management to monitor and respond to emergent events at the shop level is bounded; and a horizontal one inwhich production decisions are coordinated among shops without the centralization of information, but the capability of semiautonomous problem-solving by component units im proves over time through learning-by-doing and better uses of on-the-spot knowledge. A comparison of Japanese and American practices precedes the analysis. Copyright 1986 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Aoki, Masahiko, 1986. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 971-983, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:76:y:1986:i:5:p:971-83
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