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Productivity effects of organizational change: microeconometric evidence

  • Bertschek, Irene
  • Kaiser, Ulrich

This paper analyzes the relationship between investment in information and communication technologies (ICT), non-ICT-investment, labor productivity and workplace reorganization. Firms are assumed to reorganize workplaces if the productivity gains arising from workplace reorganization exceed the associated reorganization costs. Two different types of organizational change are considered : introduction of group-work and flattening of hierarchies. Empirical evidence is provided for a sample of 411 firms from the German business-related services sector. We develop and estimate a model for labor productivity and firms' decision to re-organize workplaces that allows workplace reorganization to affect any parameter of the labor productivity equation. Our general and flexible methodology allows to properly take account of strategic complementarities between the input factors and workplace reorganization. The estimation results show that changes in human resources practices do not significantly affect firms' output elasticities with respect to information and communication technologies (ICT), non-ICT-capital and labor although most of the point estimates of the individual output elasticities and of the control variables for observable firm heterogeneity are larger if workplace reorganization is realized. We therefore apply Kernel density estimation technique and demonstrate that for firms with organizational change the entire labor productivity distribution shifts significantly out to the right if workplace reorganization takes place, indicating that workplace reorganization induces an increase in labor productivity that is attributable to complementarities between the various input factors and workplace reorganization. By contrast, firms without organizational change would not have realized significant productivity gains if they had reorganized workplaces.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 01-32.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5387
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  1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
  2. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
  3. Nathalie Greenana & Jacques Mairesse, 2000. "Computers And Productivity In France: Some Evidence," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 275-315.
  4. Trajtenberg, M. & Bresnahan, T.F., 1992. "General Purpose Technologies: "Engines of Growth"," Papers 16-92, Tel Aviv.
  5. Bertschek, Irene & Fryges, Helmut, 2002. "The Adoption of Business-to-Business E-Commerce: Empirical Evidence for German Companies," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-05, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. S Black & L Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," CEP Discussion Papers dp0376, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Timothy F. Bresnahan, 1997. "Computerization and Wage Dispersion: An Analytical Reinterpretation," Working Papers 97031, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  8. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin Hitt, 1996. "Paradox Lost? Firm-Level Evidence on the Returns to Information Systems Spending," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(4), pages 541-558, April.
  9. Sanjeev Dewan & Chung-ki Min, 1997. "The Substitution of Information Technology for Other Factors of Production: A Firm Level Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(12), pages 1660-1675, December.
  10. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1993. "The Output Contributions of Computer Equipment and Personnel: A Firm- Level Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kaiser, Ulrich & Kreuter, Markus & Niggemann, Hiltrud, 2000. "The ZEW - Creditreform business survey in the business-related services sector : sampling frame, stratification, expansion and results," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-22, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
  13. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, And The Demand For Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376, February.
  14. Kaiser, Ulrich, 2001. "Differences in response patterns in a mixed mode: online/paper & pencil business survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-50, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Licht, Georg & Moch, Dietmar, 1997. "Innovation and Information Technology in Services," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-20, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  16. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin Hitt, 1997. "Information Technology as a Factor of Production: The Role of Differences Among Firms," Working Paper Series 201, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
  17. Ichniowski, Casey & Shaw, Kathryn & Prennushi, Giovanna, 1997. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity: A Study of Steel Finishing Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 291-313, June.
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