Local offices and HQs: An Agent-based Model of Organizational Coordination Under Varied Environmental Conditions

Authors: Stanley Rhodes*, Utah State University
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Natural Resources
Keywords: agent-based modeling, organizational networks, information-sharing, natural resource management, environmental dynamics, social networks, coordination
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Changing environments, and shared information between people and groups about changing environments, play important roles in the performance of organizations managing resources. Under varied environmental conditions, understanding the structure of a governance network is not enough to understand the management outcomes of the system in which its embedded. To complement network approaches, I take a computational, agent-based modeling approach, which works well for considering the emergent behavior of agents (such as offices, or people) under a variety of environmental conditions. I use an agent-based model to explore the tradeoffs organizations face when coordinating among local and head offices in uncertain and changing environments: i.e. tradeoffs occurring when a local office has more information about local conditions, but a head office has more information about overall conditions. I show how environmental and social factors in the organization can change performance overall. In particular, I model environmental heterogeneity, which shifts the usefulness of local and global information in different ways, and task proficiency in the offices, which shifts the ability of the offices to respond to the environment. This model has several implications for how to view organizations trying to manage resources in different types of environments. Most importantly, there is no one best organization type for all environmental conditions.

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