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Product-Market Competition and Managerial Autonomy

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  • Christian A. Ruzzier

    () (Harvard Business School)

Abstract

It is often argued that competition forces managers to make better choices, thus favoring managerial autonomy in decision making. I formalize and challenge this idea. Suppose that managers care about keeping their position or avoiding interference, and that they can make strategic choices that affect both the expected profits of the firm and their riskiness. Even if competition at first pushes the manager towards profit maximization as commonly argued, I show that further increases in competitive forces might as well lead him to take excessive risks if the threat on his position is strong enough. To curb this possibility, the principal-owner optimally reduces the degree of autonomy granted to the manager. Hence higher levels of managerial autonomy are more likely for intermediate levels of competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian A. Ruzzier, 2009. "Product-Market Competition and Managerial Autonomy," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-082, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:09-082
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    Keywords

    product-market competition; authority; decision making; delegation; autonomy;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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