"When Does Coordination Require Centralization?"
American Economic Review,
Volume: 98 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 145-179
Publication type: Journal article
Research Archive Topic: Organizations
This paper compares centralized and decentralized coordination when managers are privately informed and communicate strategically. We consider a multi-divisional organization in which decisions must be adapted to local conditions but also coordinated with each other. Information about local conditions is dispersed and held by self-interested division managers who communicate via cheap talk. The only available formal mechanism is the allocation of decision rights. We show that a higher need for coordination improves horizontal communication but worsens vertical communication. As a result, decentralization can dominate centralization even when coordination is extremely important relative to adaptation.
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