IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Partial Theory of the Optimal Organization of a Bureaucracy


  • Jacques Cremer


This article models the choice of an organizational structure as the grouping of functions into units to obtain the most efficient coordination between related functions. We derive a simple formula which emphasizes the role of the organization as a reducer of uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:11:y:1980:i:autumn:p:683-693

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Samet, Dov & Tauman, Yair, 1982. "The Determination of Marginal Cost Prices under a Set of Axioms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 895-909, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Jacques Crémer & Luis Garicano & Andrea Prat, 2007. "Language and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 373-407.
    2. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Chenggang Xu, 1999. "Coordinating Changes in M-form and U-form Organizations," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 284, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    3. Eric Maskin & Yingyi Qian & Chenggang Xu, 2000. "Incentives, Information, and Organizational Form," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(2), pages 359-378.
    4. Dessein, Wouter & Galeotti, Andrea & Santos, Tano, 2013. "Rational Inattention and Organizational Focus," CEPR Discussion Papers 9395, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Dimitri Vayanos, 2003. "The Decentralization of Information Processing in the Presence of Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 667-695.
    6. Masahiko Aoki, 2003. "T-forms of Organization Revisited and A Trans-disciplinary Framework for Institutional Analysis," Discussion papers 03004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Hans Degryse & Luc Laeven & Steven Ongena, 2009. "The Impact of Organizational Structure and Lending Technology on Banking Competition," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(2), pages 225-259.
    8. Philippe Jehiel, 1999. "Information Aggregation and Communication in Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(5), pages 659-669, May.
    9. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2007. "Information Technology, Efficient Restructuring and the Productivity Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 6109, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Luis Garicano & Luis Rayo, 2016. "Why Organizations Fail: Models and Cases," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 137-192, March.
    11. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2003. "Coordinating tasks in M-form and U-form organisations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3746, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2007. "Protocol Design and (De-)Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 6357, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Wouter Dessein & Tano Santos, 2003. "The Demand for Coordination," NBER Working Papers 10056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Friebel, Guido & Raith, Michael, 2006. "Resource Allocation and Firm Scope," CEPR Discussion Papers 5763, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Crémer, Jacques & Garicano, Luis & Prat, Andrea, 2003. "Codes in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 172, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Feb 2005.
    16. Wouter Dessein & Luis Garicano & Robert Gertner, 2010. "Organizing for Synergies," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 77-114, November.
    17. Joris Meijaard & Maryse Brand & Marco Mosselman, 2005. "Organizational Structure and Performance in Dutch small Firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 83-96, August.
    18. Luis Garicano & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2004. "Hierarchies, Specialization, and the Utilization of Knowledge: Theory and Evidence from the Legal Services Industry," NBER Working Papers 10432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Chenggang Xu, 2001. "Attribute Coordination in Organizations," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 2(2), pages 487-518, November.
    20. Garicano, Luis & Prat, Andrea, 2011. "Organizational Economics with Cognitive Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 8372, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:11:y:1980:i:autumn:p:683-693. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.