163 research outputs found

    Division of Labour and Social Coordination Modes : A simple simulation model

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    This paper presents a preliminary investigation of the relationship between the process of functional division of labour and the modes in which activities and plans are coordinated. We consider a very simple production process: a given heap of bank-notes has to be counted by a group of accountants. Because of limited individual capabilities and/or the possibilities of mistakes and external disturbances, the task has to be divided among several accountants and a hierarchical coordination problem arises. We can imagine several different ways of socially implementing coordination of devided tasks. 1) a central planner can compute the optimal architecture of the system; 2) a central planner can promote quantity adjustments by moving accountants from hierarchical levels where there exist idle resources to levels where resources are insufficient; 3) quasi-market mechanisms can use quantity or price signals for promoting decentralized adjustments. By means of a simple simulation model, based on Genetic Algorithms and Classifiers Systems, we can study the dynamic efficiency properties of each coordination mode and in particular their capability, speed and cost of adaptation to changing environmental situations (i.e. variations of the size of the task and/or variations of agents' capabilities). Such interesting issues as returns to scale, specialization and workers exploitation can be easily studied in the same model

    On the Convergence of Evolutionary and Behavioral Theories of Organizations: A Tentative Roadmap

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    The behavioral theory of the firm has been acknowledged as one of the most fundamental pillars on which evolutionary theorizing in economics has been built. Nelson and Winter’s 1982 book is pervaded by the philosophy and concepts previously developed by Cyert, March and Simon. On the other hand, some behavioral notions, such as bounded rationality, though isolated from the context, are also at the heart of some economic theories of institutions such as transaction costs economics. In this paper, after briefly reviewing the basic concepts of evolutionary economics, we discuss its implications for the theory of organizations (and business firms in particular), and we suggest that evolutionary theory should coherently embrace an “embeddedness” view of organizations, whereby the latter are not simply efficient solutions to informational problems arising from contract incompleteness and uncertainty, but also shape the “visions of the world”, interaction networks, behavioral patterns and, ultimately, the very identity of the agents. After outlining the basic features of this perspective we analyze its consequences and empirical relevance.

    Social choice on complex objects: A geometric approach

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    Marengo and Pasquali (2008) present a model of object construction in majority voting and show that, in general, by appropriate changes of such bundles, different social outcomes may be obtained. In this paper we extend and generalize this approach by providing a geometric model of individual preferences and social aggregation based on hyperplanes and their arrangements. As an application of this model we give a necessary condition for existence of a local social optimum. Moreover we address the question if a social decision rule depends also upon the number of voting agents. More precisely: are there social decision rules that can be obtained by an odd (even) number of voting agent which cannot be obtained by only three (two) voting agent? The answer is negative. Indeed three (or two) voting agent can produce all possible social decision rules.Social choice; object construction power; agenda power; intransitive cycles; arrangements; graph theory.

    The construction of choice. A computational voting model.

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    Social choice models usually assume that choice is among exogenously given and non decomposable alternatives. Often, on the contrary, choice is among objects that are constructed by individuals or institutions as complex bundles made of many interdependent components. In this paper we present a model of object construction in majority voting and show that, in general, by appropriate changes of such bundles, different social outcomes may be obtained, depending upon initial conditions and agenda, intransitive cycles and median voter dominance may be made appear or disappear, and that, finally, decidability may be ensured by increasing manipulability or viceversa.Voting, Social choice, Agenda power, Power, Voting paradox, Median voter

    Division of Labor, Organizational Coordination and Market Mechanism in Collective Problem-Solving

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    This paper builds upon a view of economic system and individual economic organization as problem-solving arrangements and presents a simple model of adaptive problem-solving driven by trial-and-error and collective selection. The institutional structure, and in particular its degree of decentralization, determines which solutions are tried out and undergo selection. It is shown that if the design problem at hand is complex (in term of interdependencies between the elements of the system) then a decentralized institutional structure is very unlikely to ever generate optimal solutions and therefore no selection process can ever select them. We also show that nearly-decomposable structures have in general a selective advantage in terms of speed in reaching good locally optimal solutions.Theory of the firm, Vertical and horizontal integration, Computational complexity

    How to get what you want when you do not know what you want. A model of incentives, organizational structure and learning

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    In this paper we present a model of the interplay between learning, incentives and the allocation of decision rights in the context of a generalized agency problem. Within this context, not only actors face conflicting interests but diverging cognitive ?visions? of the right course of action as well. We show that a principal may obtain the implementation of desired organizational policies by means of appropriate incentives or by means of appropriate design of the allocation of decisions, when the latter is cheaper but more complex. We also show that when the principal is uncertain about which course of action is more appropriate and wants to learn it from the environment, organizational structure and incentives interact in non-trivial ways and must be carefully tuned. When learning is not at stake, incentives and organizational structure are substitutes. When instead learning is at stake, organizational structure and incentives may complement each other and have to be fine tuned according to the complexity of the learning process and the competitive pressure which is put on fast or slow learning.Incentives, Organizational Structure, Learning