Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2014:2: Let's Talk It Over: Communication and Coordination in Teams

Jens Dietrichson (), Jens Gudmundsson () and Torsten Jochem ()
Additional contact information
Jens Dietrichson: VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research
Jens Gudmundsson: University of Copenhagen
Torsten Jochem: Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Postal: Roetersstraat 11, 1018 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Abstract: Collaboration in teams in which each member's output is critical to the overall success present organizations with difficult coordination problems. We develop a model and run simulations to analyze how costly communication affects team coordination and output efficiency. We show that absent any organizational routines to structure team communication the least efficient outcome is the most frequent organizational output. We then derive formal conditions and simulate efficiency gains for several communication routines that improve team coordination and organizational efficiency. Our model and simulation results match a broad range of findings from the experimental and organizational literature, help explain why collaborations involving several organizational units often fail, and suggest new tests for promising communication routines.

Keywords: Coordination; Communication; Teams; Routines; Authority

JEL-codes: C73; D02; D23; L22; L23

41 pages, First version: February 3, 2014. Revised: April 18, 2018.

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WP14_2.pdf PDF-file 

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