Autocrats in the Lab
| Peter Klein |
We noted before the Taylorite quality of many great restaurant kitchens. From Pierre Azoulay we learn that scientific laboratories are also sometimes organized as rigid hierarchies, presided over by an autocratic PI. (The key references is Pasteur.) Pierre suggests a sorting between PI and researcher characteristics so that labs run by autocrats are about as productive as labs run by softies. Probably the same is true in many groups. This reminds us that the Demsetz-Lehn critique applies to lots of work in management. If there is competition among organizational forms, and heterogeneity among individuals, then we shouldn’t expect one form to outperform the others, on average — a lesson often forgotten in empirical management research.