Efficient Coordination by Optimal Allocation of Decision Rights for Participants on Electronic Financial Services Markets

  • Hans Ulrich Buhl


Information technology (IT) is enabling large companies and particularly banking firms to create new forms of organizations. Both globalization of markets and stronger regulation throughout the world puts pressure on banking firms to either spend more money coordinating business activities in the traditional hierarchical ways or to employ new forms of organizations enabled by (lower costs of) IT. When facing uncertain demand in multiple horizontal markets, resource allocation problems occur. Accordingly, the location of decision authority in a multilevel hierarchical organization has profound impact on the performance of the firm. The firm has to design its coordination structure, which determines who makes the resource allocation decisions. Considering the tradeoff between pooling effects in the case of centralized decision-making and better assessment of local markets in the case of decentralized decision-making, the decision problem where to locate decision rights to maximize total profits has to be solved. In this paper we investigate for both independent and dependent demands the total profits for each of the possible coordination mechanisms: centralized decision-making, decentralized decision-making, and intermediate-level decision-making. It turns out that—depending on the crucial parameters of the firm—decentralized decision-making or centralized decision-making may be optimal. But in many relevant cases the optimal location of decision rights is at an intermediate level of the hierarchy. We illustrate the findings by considering the banking firm coordinating equity capital allocation by granting alternative decision rights to their employees as participants on electronic financial markets. Finally we discuss the generality of the approach and its applicability in other areas such as inventory management.

coordination mechanisms internal organization internal resource allocation organizational design electronic markets financial services markets inventory management 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Ulrich Buhl
    • 1
  1. 1.Business School, Department of Information Systems and Financial EngineeringUniversity of AugsburgThe Netherlands

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