When Does Coordination Require Centralization?
Coauthor(s): Ricardo Alonso, Niko Matouschek.
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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.
Source: American Economic Review
Alonso, Ricardo, Wouter Dessein, and Niko Matouschek. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?" American Economic Review 98, no. 1 (March 2008): 145-179.