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Structure and the performance of public organizations: Task difficulty and span of control

Meier, Kenneth John and Bohte, John 2001. Structure and the performance of public organizations: Task difficulty and span of control. Public Organization Review 1 (3) , pp. 341-354. 10.1023/A:1012284830077

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Scholars of public organizations have long been interested in understanding how organizational structures shape organizational performance. This is an important question because if links between structure and performance exist, then manipulating organizational structures may lead to improvements in organizational performance. This study examines how one structural attribute, span of control, shapes performance in a large set of public organizations. Specifically, our focus is on how structure shapes performance when task difficulty varies. We hypothesize that structural attributes such as spans of control have limited effects on performance when organizations address very easy or very difficult tasks. When organizations address moderately difficult tasks, the impact of structure on performance should be greatest. Our analysis of 678 school districts in Texas covering the years 1994 to 1997 reveals that span of control variables have the greatest impact on student performance under moderately difficult task scenarios.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
L Education > LD Individual institutions (United States)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Organizational performance; span of control; education; organization structure; organizational effectiveness
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 1566-7170
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:38

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