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When does coordination require centralization?

Author

Listed:
  • Alonso, Ricardo
  • Dessein, Wouter
  • Matouschek, Niko

Abstract

This paper compares centralized and decentralized coordination when managers are privately informed and communicate strategically. We consider a multidivisional organization in which decisions must be adapted to local conditions but also coordinated with each other. Information about local conditions is dispersed and held by self-interested division managers who communicate via cheap talk. The only available formal mechanism is the allocation of decision rights. We show that a higher need for coordination improves horizontal communication but worsens vertical communication. As a result, decentralization can dominate centralization even when coordination is extremely important relative to adaptation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alonso, Ricardo & Dessein, Wouter & Matouschek, Niko, 2008. "When does coordination require centralization?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58664, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:58664
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/58664/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • M11 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Production Management

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