Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Distributional Conflicts in Organizations

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Authors:
Müller, Holger M.
Wärneryd, Karl
Source:
Volume: 51
Number: 2
Pages: 385 - 402
Month: February
ISSN-Print: 0014-2921
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2007
Abstract: Hierarchy can function as an instrument to channel influence activities or power struggles in organizations. Contrary to what has frequently been argued, we show that multi-divisional organizations may involve lower influence costs than single-tier organizations, even though they offer more scope for organizational conflict and have more executives that can be influenced. These benefits derive from two effects. First, part of the conflict in multi-divisional organizations takes place on the division level, where a small number of agents fight over only a fraction of the overall prize. Second, by grouping agents into common divisions, multi-divisional organizations create free-rider problems in rent-seeking. Our model sheds new light on the desirability of divestitures and the transition from the U- to the M-form by US corporations in the 1920s.
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