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Organizational Theory and Decision Making

  • Enseignant(s): C.Zehnder
  • Titre en français: Théorie et Prise de Décision Organisationnelle
  • Cours donné en: anglais
  • Crédits ECTS: 6 crédits
  • Horaire: Semestre d'automne 2019-2020, 4.0h. de cours (moyenne hebdomadaire)
  •  séances
  • Formations concernées:
    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en économie politique

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation business analytics

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation comportement, économie et évolution

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation marketing

    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation stratégie, organisation et leadership

[attention] Le syllabus du cours est entrain d'être modifié par le professeur responsable. Veuillez consulter cette page à nouveau dans quelques jours. --- A titre informatif uniquement, voici l'ancien syllabus :

Objectifs

Almost all economic activity involves organizations in one way or another. Understanding why organizations exist and how they operate is therefore essential. The course introduces classic and modern versions of the theory of the firm and relates the different models to empirical evidence (experiments, field data, and case studies). We cover theory and evidence on vertical integration and outsourcing, analyze the impact of explicit and implicit incentives on performance, and discuss the role of the internal structure of an organization.

Contenus

The course presents different ways in which researchers have looked at organizations. We consider classic and modern versions of the theory of the firm and relate the different models to empirical evidence (experiments, field data, and case studies).

In the first part of the course we study the foundations and the boundaries of the firm. We start with the observation that the neoclassical assumption of costless and complete contracting is often unrealistic. Since the future is hard to foresee, it is natural that most transactions are governed by incomplete contracts. We will see that contractual incompleteness can be problematic, because opportunistic behavior may lead to inefficient outcomes (the hold-up problem). This takes us to the literature on transaction cost economics and the property rights approach. These theories allow us to investigate the condition under which changes in the governance structure (in particular, vertical integration or outsourcing) can help to mitigate the problems posed by incomplete contracts. To test whether the theories explain the developments that we observe in reality, we will discuss empirical evidence on vertical integration and outsourcing from a variety of industries. We will see that many empirical findings are in line with the ideas put forward in transaction cost economics and the property rights approach, but there are also important empirical facts, which are difficult to explain with these theories. Therefore, we will also consider more recent theories of the firm which integrate behavioral insights from psychology. These new models can be useful to understand some of the empirical facts which are otherwise regarded as puzzles.

The second part of the course investigates the motivation problem in organizations. In this part we will discuss how managers can make sure that their employees do what they want them to do. The principal-agent model delivers important insights on this issue. It illustrates how managers should structure compensation plans, which information they should use and how closely they should monitor his employees depending on the firm's technology, the characteristics of the work environment and the employee's preferences. Building on these basic principles for the provision of explicit incentives, we will extend the agency model and apply it to more complex and realistic environments where multi-tasking, team work and intertemporal spillovers make the motivation of workers difficult. The empirical literature on compensation provides two important insights: On the one hand, both field studies and controlled experiments show that well designed explicit incentives can significantly improve performance in simple jobs. These findings are highly supportive of the agency theory. On the other hand, however, there is also evidence indicating that explicit incentives can have harmful consequences in more complex work environments. As a consequence, explicit incentives are not very wide-spread in many sectors. In fact, the majority of real-life employment contracts involve fixed wages and do not rely on pay for performance. In trying to align this second finding with theory, we will see that the literature on implicit incentives provides a possible explanation for the prevalence of flat wages. Efficiency wage models suggest that firms may also be able to motivate workers with fixed wages if these wages are high enough to provide rents to employees. At the end of part II we discuss these theories in light of recent experimental studies on social motives, norms and the role of reputation formation in organizations.

Evaluation


 

1ère tentative


 
Examen:
Ecrit 2h00 heures
Documentation:
Non autorisée
Calculatrice:
Non autorisée
Evaluation:

Regular exam: written, 2 hours, doc + calculator not permitted (75%) + group work (25%)


 

Rattrapage


 
Examen:
Ecrit 2h00 heures
Documentation:
Non autorisée
Calculatrice:
Non autorisée
Evaluation:

Rattrapage : written, 2 hours, doc + calculator not permitted (100%)



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