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A Task-Based Approach to Organization: Knowledge, Communication and Structure

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  • Luis Garicano
  • Yanhui Wu

Abstract

We bridge a gap between organizational economics and strategy research by developing a task-based approach to analyze organizational knowledge, process and structure, and deriving testable implications for the relation between production and organizational structure. We argue that organization emerges to integrate disperse knowledge and to coordinate talent in production and is designed to complement the limitations of human ability. The complexity of the tasks undertaken determines the optimal level of knowledge acquisition and talent. The relations between tasks, namely, complementarities or substitutabilities and synergies, determine the allocation of knowledge among members of the organization. Communication shapes the relation between individual talent, and governs the organizational process and structure that integrates disperse knowledge to perform tasks more efficiently. Organization structure can also be deliberately designed ex ante to correct bias of individual judgement, the extent to which is dependent on the attributes of tasks. Organization process and the routinized organizational structure are the core of organizational capital, which generates rent and sustains organizational growth. This task-based approach enriches the existing body of organization studies, in particular the knowledge-based theory of the firm and the dynamic capabilities theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Garicano & Yanhui Wu, 2010. "A Task-Based Approach to Organization: Knowledge, Communication and Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp1013, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1013
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1013.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. AloƱa Martiarena, 2012. "Mobility of Skills and Ideas," DRUID Working Papers 12-04, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    task-based approach; complementarities; tacit knowledge; codifiable knowledge; code; vertical communication; horizontal communication; organizational architecture; decision bias;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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