Authority and Discretion Tensions, Credible Delegation and Implications for New Organizational Forms
We analyze a key problem in organization theory and design, namely the potential tension between authority (i.e., the power to make decisions which guide the decisions of another person) and the discretion of employees (i.e., the ability of an agent to control resources including his own human capital). The problem is rooted in the fact that in organizations, decisions rights are always loaned rather than owned; a hierarchical superior can always in principle overrule a hierarchical inferior. We provide an integrative treatment of the tensions that are involved in the interaction between authority and discretion, and the motivational problems that may result from this tension. We discuss how these problems may be checked by credible managerial commitments and other mechanisms. The framework is then applied to an analysis of new organizational forms, specifically internal hybrids. Thus, the framework adds to the understanding of the costs and benefits of alternative organizational forms.
|Date of creation:||2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.druid.dk/|
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.:
- Nicolai J. Foss, 2001. "Selective Intervention and Internal HybridsInterpreting and Learning from the Rise and Decline of the Oticon Spaghetti Organization," DRUID Working Papers 01-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
- Demski, Joel S, et al, 1999. "Practices for Managing Information Flows within Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 107-31, April.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, .
"Power in a Theory of the Firm,"
CRSP working papers
335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Armstrong, Mark, 1995.
"Delegation and discretion,"
17069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Armstrong, M., 1994. "Delegation and discretion," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9421, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
- Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
- Gal-Or, Esther & Amit, Raphael, 1998. "Does empowerment lead to higher quality and profitability?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 411-431, September.
- Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
- Margit Osterloh & Bruno S. Frey, . "Motivation, Knowledge Transfer, and Organizational Form," IEW - Working Papers 027, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Foss, Kirsten, 2001. "Organizing Technological Interdependencies: A Coordination Perspective on the Firm," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 151-78, March.
- Herbert A. Simon, 1991. "Organizations and Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
- Michael C. Jensen & William H. Heckling, 1995. "Specific And General Knowledge, And Organizational Structure," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 8(2), pages 4-18.
- Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1985. "Human Fallibility and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 292-97, May.
- Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
- Barzel,Yoram, 1997. "Economic Analysis of Property Rights," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521597135, June.
- Dow, Gregory K., 1987. "The function of authority in transaction cost economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 13-38, March.
- Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:02-11. 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: (Keld Laursen)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.