Coordination and Delay in Hierarchies

Andrea Patacconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article studies hierarchical organizations where concerns for fast execution are important and employees must be coordinated to avoid wasteful duplications of effort. Simple conditions are provided for the time spent on coordinating subordinates to be increasing and the span of control to be decreasing as one goes up the hierarchy, with equalities holding if delay is all that matters. When returns to specialization are substantial, the span of control also tends to widen and the hierarchy to flatten as urgency increases. The model suggests that concerns for fast execution may be key in explaining recent trends toward decentralization and delayering in firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-208
Number of pages19
JournalThe RAND Journal of Economics
Volume40
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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