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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.

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Paper provided by Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales in its series Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) with number 2003-06.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:grs:wpegrs:2003-06
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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination Versus Specialization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1880, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2002. "Social Capital and Community Governance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 419-436, November.
  3. Patrick Cohendet & Murât Yildizoglu & Olivier Dupouët, 2003. "Morphogenèse de communautés de pratique," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 103(1), pages 91-110.
  4. 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.
  5. Bolton, Patrick & Dewatripont, Mathias, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-39, November.
  6. Visser, Bauke, 2000. "Organizational communication structure and performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 231-252, June.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
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