IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ssa/lemwps/2010-08.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How to get what you want when you do not know what you want. A model of incentives, organizational structure and learning

Author

Listed:
  • Luigi Marengo
  • Corrado Pasquali

Abstract

In this paper we present a model of the interplay between learning, incentives and the allocation of decision rights in the context of a generalized agency problem. Within this context, not only actors face conflicting interests but diverging cognitive ?visions? of the right course of action as well. We show that a principal may obtain the implementation of desired organizational policies by means of appropriate incentives or by means of appropriate design of the allocation of decisions, when the latter is cheaper but more complex. We also show that when the principal is uncertain about which course of action is more appropriate and wants to learn it from the environment, organizational structure and incentives interact in non-trivial ways and must be carefully tuned. When learning is not at stake, incentives and organizational structure are substitutes. When instead learning is at stake, organizational structure and incentives may complement each other and have to be fine tuned according to the complexity of the learning process and the competitive pressure which is put on fast or slow learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Marengo & Corrado Pasquali, 2010. "How to get what you want when you do not know what you want. A model of incentives, organizational structure and learning," LEM Papers Series 2010/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2010/08
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.lem.sssup.it/WPLem/files/2010-08.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Helmut Bester, 2009. "Externalities, communication and the allocation of decision rights," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 41(2), pages 269-296, November.
    2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    3. Giovanni Dosi & Daniel A. Levinthal & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Bridging contested terrain: linking incentive-based and learning perspectives on organizational evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 413-436, April.
    4. Marengo, Luigi & Dosi, Giovanni, 2005. "Division of labor, organizational coordination and market mechanisms in collective problem-solving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 303-326, October.
    5. Scott E. Page, 1996. "Two measures of difficulty (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 321-346.
    6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    7. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 716-727, September.
    8. Bernholz, Peter, 1997. "Property rights, contracts, cyclical social preferences and the Coase theorem: A synthesis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 419-442, September.
    9. Langlois, Richard N & Foss, Nicolai J, 1999. "Capabilities and Governance: The Rebirth of Production in the Theory of Economic Organization," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 201-218.
    10. Luigi Marengo & Simona Settepanella, 2010. "Social choice among complex objects," LEM Papers Series 2010/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    11. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432.
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:78:y:1984:i:02:p:435-451_25 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, "undated". "Do Incentive Contracts Crowd out Voluntary Cooperation?," IEW - Working Papers 034, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    14. Page, Scott E, 1996. "Two Measures of Difficulty," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(2), pages 321-346, August.
    15. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    16. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
    17. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Faillo & Luigi Marengo, 2003. "Organizational Capabilities, Patterns of Knowledge Accumulation and Governance Structures in Business Firms. An Introduction," LEM Papers Series 2003/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    18. Rebecca Henderson & Sarah Kaplan, 2005. "Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Theory," NBER Working Papers 11849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-1146, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Hideo Owan, 2013. "Autonomy, Conformity and Organizational Learning," Administrative Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(3), pages 1-21, July.
    2. Giovanni Dosi & Marco Faillo & Virginia Cecchini Manara & Luigi Marengo & Daniele Moschella, 2017. "The formalization of organizational capabilities and learning: results and challenges," LEM Papers Series 2017/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incentives; Organizational Structure; Learning;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2010/08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/labssit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.