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Organizational Decision Making: An Information Aggregation View


  • Felipe A. Csaszar

    () (Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

  • J. P. Eggers

    () (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York 10012)


We study four information aggregation structures commonly used by organizations to evaluate opportunities: individual decision making, delegation to experts, majority voting, and averaging of opinions. Using a formal mathematical model, we investigate how the performance of each of these structures is contingent upon the breadth of knowledge within the firm and changes in the environment. Our model builds on work in the Carnegie tradition and in the group and behavioral decision-making literatures. We use the model to explore when delegation is preferable to other structures, such as voting and averaging. Our model shows that delegation is the most effective structure when there is diversity of expertise, when accurate delegation is possible, and when there is a good fit between the firm's knowledge and the knowledge required by the environment. Otherwise, depending on the knowledge breadth of the firm, voting or averaging may be the most effective structure. Finally, we use our model to shed light on which structures are more robust to radical environmental change and when crowd-based decision making may outperform delegation. This paper was accepted by Jesper Sørensen, organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Felipe A. Csaszar & J. P. Eggers, 2013. "Organizational Decision Making: An Information Aggregation View," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(10), pages 2257-2277, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:59:y:2013:i:10:p:2257-2277
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1120.1698

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nektarios Oraiopoulos & Stylianos Kavadias, 2020. "Is Diversity (Un-)Biased? Project Selection Decisions in Executive Committees," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 22(5), pages 906-924, September.
    2. Hart E. Posen & Sangyoon Yi & Jeho Lee, 2020. "A contingency perspective on imitation strategies: When is “benchmarking” ineffective?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 198-221, February.
    3. Xingguang Chen & Zhentao Zhu, 2019. "Interactional Effects Between Individual Heterogeneity and Collective Behavior in Complex Organizational Systems," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 53(1), pages 289-313, January.
    4. Tigran Melkonyan & Zvi Safra, 2016. "Intrinsic Variability in Group and Individual Decision Making," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(9), pages 2651-2667, September.
    5. Felipe A. Csaszar, 2018. "What Makes a Decision Strategic? Strategic Representations," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(4), pages 606-619, December.
    6. Majid Karimi & Stanko Dimitrov, 2018. "On the Road to Making Science of “Art”: Risk Bias in Market Scoring Rules," Decision Analysis, INFORMS, vol. 15(2), pages 72-89, June.
    7. Felipe A. Csaszar & Daniella Laureiro-Martínez, 2018. "Individual and Organizational Antecedents of Strategic Foresight: A Representational Approach," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 513-532, September.
    8. John Joseph & Ronald Klingebiel & Alex James Wilson, 2016. "Organizational Structure and Performance Feedback: Centralization, Aspirations, and Termination Decisions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(5), pages 1065-1083, October.
    9. Felipe A. Csaszar & Daniel A. Levinthal, 2016. "Mental representation and the discovery of new strategies," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(10), pages 2031-2049, October.
    10. Karen Chinander Dye & J. P. Eggers & Zur Shapira, 2014. "Trade-offs in a Tempest: Stakeholder Influence on Hurricane Evacuation Decisions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(4), pages 1009-1025, August.


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