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On the Notion of Responsibility in Organizations

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    ()

    (University of Cologne)

We derive a natural definition of responsibility in a formal model where employees care for their career prospects: A superior holds a subordinate responsible for a task, when she announces her beliefs that this subordinate contributes most to this task. We show, that those announced beliefs lead to a self fulfilling prophecy as the reputation of the responsible subordinate then is affected by the outcome of the task and he therefore has strong incentives to contribute to its success. There are equilibria where either a single agent or no agent is responsible for a task but joint responsibility never arises. Several extensions are discussed.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1423.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1423.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2006, 22(2), 523-547
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1423
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  1. Michael Waldman, 1989. "Up-or-Out Contracts: A Signaling Perspective," UCLA Economics Working Papers 556, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-64, June.
  3. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Guasch, J Luis, 1988. "Heterogeneity, Tournaments, and Hierarchies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 867-81, August.
  4. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Manove, Michael, 1997. "Job Responsibility, Pay and Promotion," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 85-103, January.
  6. Lazear, Edward P, 1989. "Pay Equality and Industrial Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 561-80, June.
  7. Fairburn, J.A. & Malcomson, J.M., 1993. "Rewarding performance by promotion to a different job," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9316, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Prendergast, Canice J, 1995. "A Theory of Responsibility in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 387-400, July.
  9. Meyer, M.A., 1991. "The Dynamics of Learning with Team Production: Implications for Task Assignment," Papers 30, Stanford - Institute for Thoretical Economics.
  10. Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 183-98, January.
  11. Dirk Sliwka, 2001. "On the Costs and Benefits of Delegation in Organizations," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(4), pages 568-, December.
  12. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
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