Optimal information transmission in organizations: Search and congestion
We propose a stylized model of a problem-solving organization whose internal communication structure is given by a fixed network. Problems arrive randomly anywhere in this network and must find their way to their respective “specialized solvers” by relying on local information alone. The organization handles multiple problems simultaneously. For this reason, the process may be subject to congestion. We provide a characterization of the threshold of collapse of the network and of the stock of foating problems (or average delay) that prevails below that threshold. We build upon this characterization to address a design problem: the determination of what kind of network architecture optimizes performance for any given problem arrival rate. We conclude that, for low arrival rates, the optimal network is very polarized (i.e. star-like or “centralized”), whereas it is largely homogenous (or “decentralized”) for high arrival rates. We also show that, if an auxiliary assumption holds, the transition between these two opposite structures is sharp and they are the only ones to ever qualify as optimal.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994.
"The firm as a communication network,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1996. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9597, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2004. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9599, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- 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.
- Raaj Kumar Sah & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," NBER Working Papers 1334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
- Timothy van Zandt, 1999. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing as a Model of Organizations with Boundedly Rational Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 633-658.
- A. W. Beggs, 2001. "Queues and Hierarchies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 297-322.
- Alan Beggs, 2000. "Queues and Hierarchies," Economics Series Working Papers 34, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Beggs, A., 2000. "Queues and Hierarchies," Economics Series Working Papers 9934, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Visser, Bauke, 2000. "Organizational communication structure and performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 231-252, June.
- 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. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)