Measuring Organizational Form

30 August 2006 at 9:08 am 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

A reader, inspired by our discussion on organizational form, asks for references to empirical papers relating organizational form to performance. My suggestions:

1. The literature from the 1970s and 1980s on the “M-form hypothesis.” The classification scheme is described in Williamson and Bhargava, “Assessing and Classifying the Internal Control Apparatus of the Modern Corporation,” in Keith Cowling, ed., Market Structure and Corporate Behavior (London: Gray Mills, 1972). Empirical papers (you’ll have to Google them) include Armour and Teece (1978), Steer and Cable (1978), Teece (1981), Thompson (1981), Harris (1983), Cable and Dirrheimer (1983), Cable and Yasuki (1984), and Hill (1985). I’m currently working on a paper revisiting these data using some updated techniques.

2. The “diversification discount” literature in empirical corporate finance. This literature is about organizational form to the extent that organizational form is correlated with the number of industry segments, the distribution of activities across industries, or some measure of relatedness. (Among the many papers in this literature, the best known are Lang and Stulz, 1994; Berger and Ofek, 1995; Campa and Kedia, 2003, Chevalier, 2004). A few papers try to infer organizational form from past activities, such as prior acquisitions (Hubbard and Palia, 1999; Klein, 2001).

3. More direct measures include segment or subsidiary counts within a single industry (Klein and Saidenberg, 2005, Sanzhar, 2006), the ratio of administrative staff to total employees (Zhang, 2005), the number of positions reporting directly to the CEO (Rajan and Wulf, 2003), and the average number of management levels between the CEO and division managers (Rajan and Wulf, 2003).

This will all be discussed in more detail in the magnum opus.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory, Theory of the Firm.

Ken Lay Chair Still Available Levels Issues I: Homogeneity and Heterogeneity

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jeff  |  30 August 2006 at 5:31 pm

    I sense that readers of this blog take organization to mean firm, but if I may push the envelope a bit, Elisabeth Clemens’ work on the rise of interest group politics, particularly the stuff on “organizational repertoires,” is a great example of sociological institutionalist work in this area. Good stuff, I think.

    There’s also a hefty literature on the forms of social movement organizations and performance that begins at least with Gamson (1975) and goes through the recent work represented by Davis, McAdam, Scott, and Zald (2005).

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