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Organizational performance in hierarchies and communities of practice


  • Olivier DUPOUËT (BETA UMR CNRS 7522)


In a preceding article we have studied the Communities of Practice and their conditions of emergence using an Agent based model of a set of agents facing a continuous flow of problems. We center now our analysis on the performance of this organizational structure in comparison with a two-level hierarchical delegation structure. Our results show the crucial role played by the communication and the specialisation of the agents. Our main result shows that community structures are efficient for competence building, and particularly, if one considers learning in the long term. This paper backs the claim made by Bowles and Gintis [2000] that hierarchy and communities are complementary rather than substitute modes of governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier DUPOUËT (BETA UMR CNRS 7522) & Murat YILDIZOGLU (IFReDE-E3i), 2003. "Organizational performance in hierarchies and communities of practice," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2003-06, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
  • Handle: RePEc:grs:wpegrs:2003-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2003. "Balancing Search and Stability: Interdependencies Among Elements of Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(3), pages 290-311, March.
    2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "Social Capital and Community Governance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 419-436, November.
    4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
    5. Delmastro, Marco, 2002. "The determinants of the management hierarchy: evidence from Italian plants," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 119-137, January.
    6. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
    7. Olivier Dupouët & Murât Yildizoglu & Patrick Cohendet, 2003. "Morphogenèse de communautés de pratique," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 103(1), pages 91-110.
    8. Kathleen M. Carley & Zhiang Lin, 1997. "A Theoretical Study of Organizational Performance Under Information Distortion," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(7), pages 976-997, July.
    9. Visser, Bauke, 2000. "Organizational communication structure and performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 231-252, June.
    10. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
    11. John Seely Brown & Paul Duguid, 1991. "Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 40-57, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carayol, Nicolas & Roux, Pascale & YIldIzoGlu, Murat, 2008. "Inefficiencies in a model of spatial networks formation with positive externalities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 495-511, August.
    2. Nathalie Lazaric & Alain Raybaut, 2014. "Do incentive systems spur work motivation of inventors in high tech firms? A group-based perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 135-157, January.
    3. Zenou, Yves & König, Michael D. & Tessone, Claudio J., 2014. "Nestedness in networks: A theoretical model and some applications," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(3), September.
    4. Nathalie Lazaric & Alain Raybaut, 2014. "Do incentive systems spur work motivations of inventors in high-tech firms," Post-Print halshs-00930186, HAL.
    5. M. Koenig & Claudio J. Tessone & Yves Zenou, "undated". "A Dynamic Model of Network Formation with Strategic Interactions," Working Papers CCSS-09-006, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
    6. Murat YILDIZOGLU (Université Aix-Marseille3), 2009. "Evolutionary approaches of economic dynamics (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-16, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    7. Widad Guechtouli, 2006. "Learning in a community of practice : Complete vs. incomplete information," Working Papers halshs-00410764, HAL.

    More about this item


    Communities of practice; learning; emergence of networks;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior


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