HOPE WORKSHOP Theme: The aim of this workshop is to integrate behavioral theories of decision-making more fully with organization design theory (ODT) and explore how experiments can be used to test this new theoretical approach. By ODT we understand management research on organization design as well as organizational economics.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 09:00 to Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 17:00





Organization: Organized by

·         Professor Nicolai J Foss, HOPE research group, Copenhagen Business School.

·         Associate Professor Jimmy Martinez-Correa, HOPE research group, Copenhagen Business School.


Time and Place: December 14th and 15th, 2016, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The conjecture that informs the workshop is that organizational design theory stands to gain from more explicitly engaging with more directly with the expanding and diverse literature of behavioral theories that take into account what may be seen as “deviations” from the full-rationality-and-selfish-preferences paradigm that still dominates much of social science. This is potentially fruitful avenue for research as different kinds of organizational designs have different implications for the bounds to rationality that individuals confront and may influence or harness prosocial preferences differently with implications for organizational outcomes. In turn, anticipated organizational outcomes can inform the organizational design task on how to deal with the effects of the reality of the rationality and bounded rationality of individuals. 

A key purpose of the workshop is to facilitate the conversation between theorists and experimental researchers. The workshop will hopefully create a new theoretical pathway to approach organizational design issues, but we also need at the same time to facilitate a frank conversation between empiricists and theorists to identify the kind of data that is needed to test the type of hypotheses that behavioral theories can generate. By empiricists we mean here researchers using experimental methods applied in the laboratory and the field. This will allow theories and data collection for hypothesis testing to converge and increase the rate of theory refinements as hypotheses are confronted with experimentally collected data.

Questions asked: The following list of questions is illustrative of the kind of questions we seek answers to:

  • What is the role of behavioral theories in (intra)organizational processes involving interaction among agents?  For example, does organizational form (e.g., M-form, U-form, Matrix Form) entail that organizational members hold specific frames and biases and how does this influence interaction between members of different organizational units?
  • What is the potential of behavioral theories of decision to inform our existing theories of hierarchical failure (which are mainly centered on incentive-issues rather than on cognitive issues)? Moreover, can we learn something to improve organizational design from the literature on social preferences that shows deviations from the selfish maximization paradigm?
  • Is there a systematic link between different kinds of organization design (including structure, function, and process) and different kinds of behavioral biases and other-regarding preferences? For example, are flat organizations associated with different kinds of cognitive biases than more hierarchical organizations? Can flat organizations deal better with conflicts arising from selfish or reciprocal preferences than hierarchical organizations?
  • In the Sah & Stiglitz theory of organizational architecture, deviations from rationality are modeled as a screening function. However, exactly what motivates the specific form the function takes is a black box.  Will richer conceptions of behavioral decision-making fruitfully inform this theory?
  • If bounded rationality is an antecedent of transaction costs, how exactly does bounded rationality give rise to such costs?  How, for example, does framing influence transaction costs in an exchange? And, how exactly does bounded rationality determine managerial (bureaucratic) costs, and thereby tradeoffs between managerial costs and transaction costs? 
  • What are the empirical implications of richer conceptions of behavioral decision theories for governance choice in transaction cost economics?  How can we identify empirically the effect of deviations from rationality on organizational design? What type of experiments we would need in order to test alternative behavioral hypothesis on organizational design? Can we use lab/field experiments to test behavioral hypothesis on organizational design? What are the empirical bases for our understanding of bounded rationality? 
  • What does available empirical evidence tell us? And how can we feed findings into an improved understanding of the functioning of organizations?

We encourage submission of both theoretical and empirical work related to the aims of the workshop.

Invited speakers/participants (as of 10. February, 2016)

  • David J. Cooper, Florida State University
  • Nils Stieglitz, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
  • Libby Weber, University of California-Irvine
  • Maurizio Zollo, Bocconi University
  • Siegwart Lindenberg, Groningen University
  • Jackson Nickerson, Washington University
  • Thorbjørn Knudsen, Southern, University of Southern Denmark 


CBS address 
Kilevej 14 A/B, 2000 Frederiksberg
The page was last edited by: Department of Strategic Management & Globalization // 03/18/2016