.ISSN (e) 1759-7331
(print) 1759-7323
Quantitative Economics
An open-access journal in quantitative economics
Journal of the
Econometric Society
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Quantitative Economics, Volume 10, Issue 2 (May 2019)

Communication and behavior in organizations: An experiment

Piotr Evdokimov, Umberto Garfagnini

Abstract



We design a laboratory experiment to study behavior in a multidivisional organization. The organization faces a trade‐off between coordinating its decisions across the divisions and meeting division‐specific needs that are known only to the division managers, who can communicate their private information through cheap talk. While the results show close to optimal communication, we also find systematic deviations from optimal behavior in how the communicated information is used. Specifically, subjects' decisions show worse than predicted adaptation to the needs of the divisions in decentralized organizations and worse than predicted coordination in centralized organizations. We show that the observed deviations disappear when uncertainty about the divisions' local needs is removed and discuss the possible underlying mechanisms.

Communication coordination decentralization experiment C70 C92 D03

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