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The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization

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  • Maria Guadalupe

    (Columbia University)

  • Julie M. Wulf

    (Harvard Business School, Startegy Unit)

Abstract

This paper establishes a causal effect of competition from trade liberalization on various characteristics of organizational design. We exploit a unique panel dataset on firm hierarchies (1986-1999) of large U.S. firms and find that increasing competition leads firms to become flatter, i.e., (i) reduce the number of positions between the CEO and division managers (DM), (ii) increase the number of positions reporting directly to the CEO (span of control), (iii) increase DM total and performance-based pay. The results are generally consistent with the explanation that firms redesign their organizations through a set of complementary choices in response to changes in their environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Guadalupe & Julie M. Wulf, 2008. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-067, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:09-067
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Bloom & Luis Garicano & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2014. "The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(12), pages 2859-2885, December.
    2. Mion, Giordano & Opromolla, Luca David, 2014. "Managers' mobility, trade performance, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 85-101.
    3. Alessandro Sforza, 2020. "Shocks and the Organization of the Firm: Who Pays the Bill?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8084, CESifo.
    4. Luca David Opromolla & Giordano Mion, 2011. "Managers’ Mobility, Trade Status, and Wages," Working Papers w201104, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    5. Marin, Dalia & Rousová, Linda, 2011. "The Organization of European Multinationals," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 367, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    6. Friebel, Guido & Raith, Michael, 2016. "Managers, Training, and Internal Labor Markets," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145666, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Conconi, Paola & Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2012. "Trade liberalization and organizational change," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 197-208.
    8. Mion, Giordano & Opromolla, Luca David & Sforza, Alessandro, 2016. "The Diffusion of Knowledge via Managers' Mobility," CEPR Discussion Papers 11706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Andrea Patacconi, 2009. "Coordination and delay in hierarchies," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(1), pages 190-208, March.
    10. Rasel, Fabienne, 2014. "Combining technology and work organization: An analysis of complementarity between IT and decentralization across firms of different size," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-071, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    11. Jung Hur & Yohanes E. Riyanto, 2012. "Organizational Structure and Product Market Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 707-743, September.
    12. Ludmilla Shkurti, 2016. "Structure, Strategy and Organizational Design in Albanian Context," European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies Articles, Revistia Research and Publishing, vol. 1, January -.
    13. Eichhorst, Werner & Kendzia, Michael J. & Schneider, Hilmar & Buhlmann, Florian, 2013. "Neue Anforderungen durch den Wandel der Arbeitswelt," IZA Research Reports 51, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. ITO Koji, 2013. "Impact of Growing Imports: A comparison of international and domestic firms in the Japanese manufacturing industry (Japanese)," Discussion Papers (Japanese) 13034, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    15. Paola Conconi & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Trade Liberalization and Organizational Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-172, Boston University - Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    organizational change; hierarchy; organizational structure; incentives; complementarities; decentralization; competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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