Firm Organization and Market Structure: Centralization vs. Decentralization

Kieron Meagher, Wen Wang

Abstract


The protability of a rm is jointly determined by it's organizational structure and the market structure. To explore the eects of market factors on optimal organizational structure we develop a real-time information processing model of a multi unit rm in a dynamic duopoly environment. Our model is the rst to match with recent empirical nding We nd decentralization dominates for products with short lifecycles but in general there is no unique optimal organization structure over time - when product market competition is intense, decentralization outperforms centralization in the initial phase of the product lifecycle, centralization is superior in the intermediate phase, and decentralization outperforms again at the nal phase. Thus organizational change also appears to be a natural part of the lifecycle as well as a response to economic shocks. Moreover, we also nd that the performance of decentralization is superior when: (i) consumer tastes are more homogenous; (ii) consumers are more sensitive to store practices; and (iii) a larger number of markets are served.


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