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Asking One Too Many? Why Leaders Need to Be Decisive


  • Junichiro Ishida
  • Takashi Shimizu


It is often touted that decisiveness is one of the most important qualities to be possessed by leaders, broadly defined. To see how and why decisiveness can be a valuable asset in organizations, we construct a model of strategic information transmission where: (i) a decision maker solicits opinions sequentially from experts; (ii) how many experts to solicit opinions from is the decision maker's endogenous choice. We show that communication is less efficient when the decision maker is indecisive and cannot resist the temptation to ask for a second opinion. This result suggests that the optimal diversity of information sources depends critically on the strategic nature of communication: when communication is strategic, it is optimal to delegate information acquisition to a single party and rely exclusively on it; when it is not, it is optimal to diversify information sources and aggregate them via communication.

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  • Junichiro Ishida & Takashi Shimizu, 2012. "Asking One Too Many? Why Leaders Need to Be Decisive," ISER Discussion Paper 0857, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0857

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:102:y:2008:i:03:p:351-368_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Junichiro Ishida & Takashi Shimizu, 2016. "Cheap talk with an informed receiver," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(1), pages 61-72, April.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    4. Jan Zabojnik, 2002. "Centralized and Decentralized Decision Making in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-22, January.
    5. Hermalin, Benjamin E, 1998. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1188-1206, December.
    6. Dewan, Torun & Myatt, David P., 2007. "Leading the Party: Coordination, Direction, and Communication," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(04), pages 827-845, November.
    7. Eric Van den Steen, 2005. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 256-283, April.
    8. Dewan, Torun & Myatt, David P., 2008. "The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 102(03), pages 351-368, August.
    9. Austen-Smith David, 1993. "Interested Experts and Policy Advice: Multiple Referrals under Open Rule," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-43, January.
    10. Julio Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 2000. "Visionaries, Managers, and Strategic Direction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 693-716, Winter.
    11. Galeotti, Andrea & Ghiglino, Christian & Squintani, Francesco, 2009. "Strategic Information Transmission in Networks," Economics Discussion Papers 2974, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kawamura, Kohei, 2013. "Eliciting information from a large population," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 44-54.

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